Billy Kissner, who admitted causing his wife’s 2010 death, will not be sentenced, having passed the ultimate sentence on himself.
Kissner, of Cedaredge, died Saturday morning at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Delta County Coroner Kevin Lucy confirmed.
Kissner, 49, was to have been sentenced on Friday afternoon for manslaughter in the death of his wife, Raelynn Kissner.
The hearing was vacated without explanation, and District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller declined to elaborate. At the time, the Daily Press could only confirm a medical emergency involving Billy Kissner. (See Saturday’s Daily Press.)
Raelynn Kissner, 45, was found dead near her hot tub on Nov. 22, 2010. She had suffered severe facial injuries and bleeding on her brain, it was later determined.
Her husband told responders that she had been drinking and he later found her face down in the hot tub, but pulled her out and called for help.
No charges were brought at the time.
In 2012, a family member came across confessional notes reportedly written by Billy Kissner and handed them over to law enforcement.
In the notes, Kissner admitted to flying into a rage while arguing with his wife, pushing her, and throwing her into the hot tub.
While the notes provided prosecutors with an admission, they did not provide evidence as to how exactly Raelynn Kissner died. Prosecutors could only prove that her death was not consistent with an accident.
Accordingly, they dropped a charge of second-degree murder that had been leveled against Billy Kissner, and he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, with an agreement for probation.
The Kissners’ family members all reportedly supported the plea agreement and indicated that they did not want Billy Kissner jailed for the crime.
The notes also expressed remorse for Raelynn’s death and spoke of self-harm.
According to an arrest affidavit, the notes stated:
“I don’t want to die, but I know that Rae didn’t want to die either. The last thing she said to me was (don’t do this to your kids) but I was beyond control. ... That’s why I know that I either need to kill myself or turn myself in and go to prison. ... Not only did I kill Rae but I ran her down and made her look bad, too. I don’t want to die but I know that I must. The fact that I can sleep in the same bed and eat at the same table and even walk by the hot tub make me realize this.”
Bail bond conditions imposed immediately after Billy Kissner’s arrest in May 2012 also indicated he was a possible danger to himself. The conditions included a requirement that he see a counselor, turn over his firearms, and stay away from his son’s firearms and gun safe.