Teen son, 14, who shot dead drunk, abusive mom 'acted bravely and legally' to save younger brother, say lawyers
The teenager faces voluntary manslaughter charges and a counselor assessed that the siblings had endured physical and psychological abuse.
WICHITA, KANSAS: A teenager who shot and killed his mother will not plead guilty to his charges in juvenile court, with his lawyer arguing that it was an act done in self-defense to protect him and his brother from her drunken rage.
On June 20, 2018, at 10:36 p.m., a shooting was reported at an 8,500 square-foot, six-bedroom mansion near Andover, just outside Wichita, Kansas. When paramedics arrived at the scene 28 minutes later, they pronounced Lisa Trimmell, 41, dead.
An autopsy found that a medium-caliber copper-jacketed bullet had hit her neck and severed her spine, according to the Wichita Eagle. It was also found that she had suffered 16 separate blunt-force injuries from the scalp to the lower leg, and her death was ruled a homicide.
Her elder son, 14, at the time, was the one who had pulled the trigger and called 911 to report the incident. He was subsequently charged with voluntary manslaughter.
His lawyer Dan Monnat claimed that the teen "acted bravely and legally in defending himself and his younger brother" and that "this tragic event should not now be made more tragic by second-guessing the difficult decisions made that night through the prosecution of a child."
"Under clear Kansas law, children have as much right to defend themselves and their siblings against repeated acts of violent abuse as anybody else," he said. Indeed, there were mitigating circumstances.
Six weeks before her death, her orthodontist husband Justin Trimmell had filed for divorce, citing, "deep and irreconcilable conflict in their personalities or temperaments." A temporary parenting plan had then granted him custody of their two children for all but two of those days.
It was on one of those two days of court-ordered parenting time that Trimmell, allegedly drunk, had physically attacked the younger brother. A court document states that the older sibling, "fearing for the life of his younger brother, as well as his own," fired a single shot at his mother, killing her.
The autopsy that had ruled her death a homicide had also found Trimmell had "acute and chronic alcoholism" and "hepatic cirrhosis." Her blood-alcohol level at the time was 0.185, which is more than double the legal limit for driving.
A counseling professional had also determined before her death that her sons suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the physical and psychological abuse they had previously suffered at her hands, according to court documents filed by the defense attorneys.
"For many years, Lisa Trimmell was a devoted, loving mother who raised two intelligent, polite and well-behaved young boys to lead good lives," Monnat said. "But, the autopsy of Lisa Trimmell confirms her death is another instance of the rampant disease of adult alcohol abuse leading to tragic results."
But her friends have questioned the defense lawyers' version of events. They said Trimmell was physically frail and anemic and questioned how she could have posed a threat to two teenage boys.
Speaking about the 41-year-old, Jennifer Cook, a physician, told the Wichita Eagle, "She was a loving, devoted mother. Every day that I talked to Lisa, she talked about her kids, about what kind of dinner she would make for them when they would come over, what kind of summer camp they would be interested in, and whether or not they would allow her to attend their baseball game or school activity."
Prosecutors are yet to lay out their case and have declined to comment on proceedings.