Denver The tragic death of a little boy was painfully relived in a Denver courtroom on Wednesday through frantic 911 recordings and emotional testimony from the boy's father and police detectives.
Stagecoach homicide timeline
- May 29, 2013: Sheriff’s Office: Husband says wife killed their son before turning gun on herself
- May 29, 2013: Friends remember Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan as a charismatic, energetic boy
- May 30, 2013: Court documents: Lisa Lesyshen confesses to killing her son
- May 30, 2013: Soda Creek Elementary to hold meeting for parents Thursday to address grief in wake of student's death
- May 31, 2013: Arrest warrant alleges premeditated plan by Lisa Marie Lesyshen to kill her only child
- June 3, 2013: Hundreds of mourners gather at Steamboat's Howelsen Hill to remember Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan
- June 4, 2013: Routt County murder suspect recovering from gunshot wound to neck area
- June 11, 2013: Routt County Sheriff's Office making arrangements for paralyzed murder suspect
- July 5, 2013: Attorneys say officials violated Lesyshen's right to counsel
- July 10, 2013: Judge to drive to Denver to advise Lesyshen of charges in murder case
- July 12, 2013: Routt County woman charged with murder denied bail
- Aug. 18, 2013: Examining domestic violence in Routt County
- Aug. 28, 2013: Routt County woman charged with killing son makes court appearance by video
- Oct. 11, 2013: Preliminary hearing scheduled for Routt County woman accused of killing son
- Nov. 13, 2013: Lisa Lesyshen bound over for trial on 1st-degree murder charges
- Dec. 11, 2013: Insanity plea being considered by Lesyshen's attorney
- Dec. 17, 2013: DA will not seek death penalty in Lesyshen case
- Feb. 5, 2014: Lesyshen arraignment rescheduled for Feb. 20 in Denver
Lisa Lesyshen — the Stagecoach woman accused of murdering her 9-year-old son, Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan — wept openly in the courtroom as her husband, Michael Kirlan, and two investigators testified about the days, hours and minutes leading up to Asher's death.
Kirlan paused and grew emotional as he recalled the moment he discovered his son no longer was breathing, minutes after he said he was awoken by the sound of gunshots in the early hours of May 29.
He said he later discovered from talking with his wife after she was arrested for the killing that Asher was asleep at the time Lesyshen allegedly shot him.
Kirlan described how he had become unhappy with his marriage to Lesyshen and how things grew violent after she “hacked into” his email account on Memorial Day and discovered he was seeing another woman.
Prior to that, he said, he and Lesyshen were talking about separating and already were vacationing separately.
He said that after his relationship with another woman was discovered, Lesyshen was worried he was trying to tear the family apart and abandon his financial obligations to them.
“I never intended or said that I was leaving her for this other woman,” Kirlan said. “I never said I was leaving her, not once.”
Two days after Memorial Day, Lesyshen is suspected of murdering her son and unsuccessfully trying to take her own life.
She was left paralyzed after the shooting and attended Wednesday's hearing confined to a wheelchair and wearing a yellow-and-white striped jail uniform.
She remains jailed at the Denver County Jail infirmary.
At the end of the emotional five-hour hearing, prosecutors provided enough evidence for 14th Judicial District Chief Judge Michael O’Hara to again deny Lesyshen bond and also conclude there is probable cause to put her on trial for first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.
Her arraignment is tentatively scheduled at 1 p.m. Dec. 20 in Denver.
“This is not a situation where the identity of the shooter is in dispute as far as I can tell, or even the events leading up to it,” O'Hara said near the end of the hearing.
Based on the evidence presented Wednesday and the interviews with Kirlan and the investigators, what is likely to be disputed is how calculated and deliberate the killing was.
The prosecution provided evidence that depicted a story of a mother who planned the shooting shortly after learning her husband was seeing another woman.
With text messages and correspondence from some of Lesyshen's friends, the prosecution provided evidence that Lesyshen was shopping for and asking friends for ammunition in the days before the shooting.
They also had pictures of two packages containing a letter for Kirlan that Lesyshen allegedly mailed the day before the shooting to Kirlan's girlfriend and to a friend.
The letters for Kirlan were signed “Lisa and Asher” and blamed the father for something that wasn't specified in the letter.
The defense team focused on evidence that revealed the emotional duress Lesyshen was under immediately following the discovery of her husband's affair.
They suggested an untidy room where unspent ammunition was found strewn about showed the gun may have been hastily loaded before the killing.
When their second witness, Routt County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Kurtis Luster was called, prosecutors played a recording of Luster interviewing Lesyshen at Denver Health Medical Center shortly after her breathing tube was removed for the first time.
After telling Lesyshen that Asher “was shot, as well,” Lesyshen replied, “I know.”
“How did you know that?” Luster asked.
“Because I did it,” Lesyshen responded on the recording.
Much of the rest of the recording was hard to hear and understand.
The prosecution, led by District Attorney Brett Barkey, called Sheriff's Office Detective Tom Munden as its final witness.
The defense wanted to call one of Lesyshen's friends to testify, but O'Hara ruled against the witness being called for the preliminary hearing.
At next month's arraignment, Lesyshen could enter a plea that will determine whether the case goes to trial.
Saying Lesyshen's medical condition is “somewhat deteriorating,” the defense spent part of the hearing asking the court to help the murder suspect receive better medical treatment for her extensive injuries.
Public defender Scott Troxell said staff at Denver Health Medical Center said she needs a better wheelchair than the one she has been provided at the jail.
Barkey responded that the staff at the Denver County Jail and the Routt County Sheriff's Office are satisfied with the one she has been provided.
“I would like Ms. Lesyshen to receive reasonable medical care, and I think we have an obligation as a society to make sure that happens,” O'Hara said after the request for a new wheelchair was made.
But he said that without the medical recommendations in front of him, he was reluctant to “order the Denver County sheriff” to do something different Wednesday.
Lesyshen's medical condition has prevented her from being transferred to the Routt County Jail.
Because of the medical condition, O'Hara said he was open to allowing her to appear in some future court appearances via telephone or video conference as she had until Wednesday's court appearance at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in downtown Denver.
Lisa Lesyshen preliminary hearing
Michael Kirlan discusses son's death
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.
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