Although Scott Lee Kimball is a convicted serial killer, he's equivocated over time about his role in three of the four murders authorities have long believed he committed. But in an enormous letter to his cousin, author Ed Coet, that found its way into the possession of the FBI, Kimball finally takes responsibility.
How do we know he's telling the truth this time?
Killeen, Texas-based Coet, who chatted with Westword last October when Kimball became an issue in the John Suthers-Stan Garnett attorney general's race, published SLK -- Serial Killer, a book about his cousin's background and crimes, late last year. And while that tome was hardly an apologia for Kimball's actions, Coet has continued to be in close contact with his notorious relative. "I speak with him about once a week and I get correspondence from him," Coet says.
In those exchanges, "I've been pressing Scott real hard, as has the prison chaplain, to be concerned with redemption and his own personal salvation," he continues. "And over the course of time, Scott kind of had a religious epiphany. He has come to faith and prayer, and became very much concerned about his own redemption and his own salvation. He understands that's where he is in life right now -- that if he is going to be redeemed, he has to come clean and be honest and confess. At least that's what he told me -- why he said he unburdened himself."
Kimball did so in a mammoth, 147 page letter that Coet says was written on January 28 but not postmarked until February 9. Coet emphasizes that he didn't share any of the information in it with the media -- but somehow, news about the letter, which was intended for what he describes as "close family members," reached the Boulder Daily Camera, a publication that's done extraordinary reporting about Kimball. The paper notes that the FBI has the letter as well; Coet surmises that prison authorities made a copy and forwarded it to the feds before shipping the original to him.
When contacted by the Camera, Coet confirmed information contained in the letter related to four murders. For instance, Kimball wrote that he was the only one present when Kaysi McLeod, nineteen, OD'd on alcohol, meth and Oxycontin he gave her; he'd previously claimed others were there with them. He also admitted to giving a fatal heroin hot shot to Jennifer Marcum, 25, whose body has never been found, and shooting LeAnn Emry, 24; in both cases, he'd insisted that someone else had killed the women. Finally, he confirmed that he killed his sixty-year-old uncle, Terry Kimball, as he'd done before.
Does this tie up all the loose ends in these cases? Not exactly.
"Nobody can have confidence that Scott is speaking the complete truth because of his long history of lying," Coet maintains. "That doesn't mean he's incapable of telling the truth, and that doesn't mean he can't come clean. He is saying things now he never, ever would have admitted to before. For years, he lied about this, and now, I think Scott is trying to be honest -- but he has problems. I think there's still things he's holding back on, and I think he has difficulty sometimes mentally and psychologically differentiating truth from fiction, because he's had to live his lies for so long. I think it's part of his pathology -- which is why he so desperately needs mental health care.
"For some time, Scott has been a pathological liar, and he has been either a psychopath or a sociopath -- and he sometimes believes his own lies. I think he's being honest about his confessions to the extent that he can, but I don't think his confessions are complete."
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With that in mind, is Coet contemplating publishing the letter, or using it as the basis of another book? "I'm contemplating that, but I haven't decided," he says. "There's a wealth of information -- certainly enough for another book. But I don't know whether I'll write it or not. The first book was very hard to write."
In any event, he echoes something he wrote in the epilogue to SLK -- Serial Killer: "Scott Kimball's story isn't over. This is only the next chapter."