Dennis Klingbeil, a Wapiti man convicted of first degree murder in November 2019, has formally appealed to have his case overturned in Wyoming Supreme Court.
After initially submitting notice he would appeal the decision in December 2019, he entered his first filing for the case on Oct.19, and more importantly submitted his appellant brief on Monday, which outlines his argument.
Klingbeil’s case will hinge on evidence he is arguing should not have been admitted in the trial from a 2011 incident, and the state’s elicitation of an alleged improper opinion from a forensic pathologist that Klingbeil was guilty. His legal defense team, Wyoming State public defenders Diane Lozano and Kirk Morgan will represent him, and are claiming the pathologist’s testimony qualifies as prosecutorial misconduct and therefore prejudicial error.
“His opinions mattered and his improper opinion, ruling the shooting a homicide, not an accident, would have had a substantial impact on the jury,” the appellate brief said, written by Laura McLane, faculty director for the University of Wyoming Law Defender Clinic, and two student assistants.
Klingbeil shot his wife of 43 years, Donna Klingbeil, at their home in August 2018. A jury found him guilty for this crime in August 2019. It was revealed after his sentencing, Klingbeil had been offered a plea deal for a manslaughter charge. He had argued during the trial the shooting was completely accidental.
No future date for hearings has yet been scheduled with this case.