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Lisa Trimmel Shot To Death By 14-Year-Old Son — Was It Murder Or Self-Defense?

Photo: KWCH12 
Who Is Lisa Trimmel? New Details On The Woman Shot To Death By 'Hero' Son While She Was in Alcoholic Rage

Not every family gets along like the ones that you see on TV. Sure, families are all supposed to love each other and support each other, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. Sometimes, alcohol or drug addiction can tear families apart, and in more extreme cases, it can actually cause the death of family members, changing the family dynamic in a dark and permanent way. 

Sadly, that is what happened to the Trimmell family. After a painful separation, Lisa Trimmell was left on her own in a giant, empty mansion she once shared with her husband and two sons. She turned to alcohol to cope and when that happened, she became someone else. But did she really become someone so violent that it excuses her 14-year-old son of shooting her in the back of the neck? Who is Lisa Trimmel?

1. The News

On the night of June 20, 2018, Lisa Marie Trimmell was shot and killed. Even without further details, that's a shocking thing to here, a 41-year-old woman and mother of two boys shot to death in her own home? It's unthinkable. But then, the details become even darker: You see, it was one of her own sons who shot her. Lisa's 14-year-old son claims that he was defending his 12-year-old brother from his mother at the time of her death, shooting her as she attacked them in a drunken rage. According to the boy (whose name has not been released due to his age) himself, he felt like it was the only option he had when it came to saving his brother's life. But is he telling the truth or is there something else going on

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2. The Charges

Now, more than a year after the initial investigation, Lisa's son is being charged with voluntary manslaughter. His lawyer, Dan Monnat, asked the Attorney General's office to drop the charges, and it sounds like there are definitely grounds for that to take place. The older son is due to appear in court for the first time on July 26th, but his attorney has asked that the state drop the charges before that day even comes. Given the complex nature of this case, and the testimony and confession already given by the older son, it might simply be in the best interest of the state to go ahead and do just that. 

3. Lisa's Friends

According to her sons, Lisa was crazed, drunk, and violent. In fact, she was only allowed one visit with her boys every other week, which doesn't speak to a healthy and nurturing relationship. So is what her boys are reporting true? It may be, but Lisa's friends had very different impressions of the murdered woman. “Lisa was always a nice sweet lady to me and my family. Her and I were able to recently talk for about an hour about life struggles. She assured me that God has a plan and everything will get hard before it gets better,” Debby Chenowth said. “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,” said friend Sheri Cook.

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4. The Divorce

Prior to Lisa's death, she and the rest of the Trimell family were in a state of crisis. Four months before she was killed, Lisa and her husband Justin made the decision to end their marriage. Justin and their two sons moved out of the sprawling family mansion where they had all once lived together in a well-to-do suburb of Witchita, Kansas. The 8,500 square foot home set on so much land that they even had space for a fishing pond and a full-size tennis court. It was Justin who filed for divorce citing “incompatibility…deep and irreconcilable conflict in their personalities or temperaments.”

5. The Night Of The Crime

On the night when Lisa was killed, she was enjoying her visit with the boys, having just returned home from her older son's baseball game. According to him, she was already drunk when they returned home and started picking arguments with them both before she set about violently attacking the younger son. He then says that when this attack started, he went and collected the loaded handgun his mom kept in the house and shot her. He called 911 at around 10:30 that evening. When the police arrived on the scene less than 30 minutes later, she was pronounced dead. An autopsy showed that Lisa's BAC was 0.185, twice the legal driving limit. It also revealed that she suffered from alcoholism and already had cirrhosis of the liver.

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6. Suspicions

According to her son's lawyer, “For many years, Lisa Trimmell was a devoted loving mother…But, the autopsy of Lisa Trimmell confirms her death is another instance of the rampant disease of alcohol abuse leading to her tragic results.” The autopsy also revealed that her son had shot her just once, severing his spine and killing her instantly. But there are questions, too. Like what about the blunt force injuries found on her body? It was the discovery of these marks that led the state ultimately to decide that the time had come to charge her son with a crime after all. 

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.