Jackson County man pleads not guilty in death of wife

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In front of a packed courtroom Wednesday morning, a Jackson County man pleaded not guilty in the death of his wife in September.

James Michael Kiser, 40, of Ripley was arraigned in front of Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom as he is facing charges of first-degree murder and concealment of a body.

James Kiser

In September during questioning by the Kanawha County Sheriff’s office, Kiser admitted he killed his wife Crystal Dawn Kiser, 36, in Kanawha County and buried her in a shallow grave in Jackson County. She had been missing for around a month before Kiser told deputies what happened.

During Kiser’s interview with deputies, Sheriff Mike Rutherford said his admission included details of an argument between the couple at her grandmother’s house on Lessie Lane near Sissonville. The body of Crystal Dawn Kiser was then taken to a remote location in Kentuck, according to what Kiser told detectives on the case.

Parties representing both sides sat in the courtroom on Wednesday, as many wore purple for domestic violence awareness.

Kiser’s trial date was set for April 20 at 8:30 a.m. with pretrial on April 9 at 1:30 p.m.