A Jackson County man accused of killing his wife is scheduled to stand trial next spring.
James Michael Kiser pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and concealment of a body during a short arraignment hearing Wednesday morning.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom scheduled Kiser’s trial for April 20, 2020.
Relatives and supporters of Kiser and those of his late wife, Crystal Kiser, packed the courtroom in the Kanawha Judicial Building for the 3½-minute arraignment hearing.
Crystal Kiser’s supporters wore purple in her memory.
After the hearing ended, the two groups engaged in a verbal altercation outside of the building at the intersection of Court and Virginia streets.
The families stood on either side of Court Street shouting at one another, with at least one of James Kiser’s supporters filming people on the other side of the street. Four Kanawha Sheriff’s Deputies came to the intersection to keep the families apart and remained in the area until everyone had gotten in their vehicles and driven away.
Assistant Kanawha prosecuting attorneys Don Morris and Maryclaire Akers allege Crystal Kiser told her husband she wanted a divorce and was staying with her grandmother in August. They said video surveillance showed James Kiser driving past Crystal Kiser’s grandmother’s home several times on Aug. 10.
During a hearing in October, Morris said it was his belief that James Kiser, 40, was stalking Crystal Kiser.
When he talked with Kanawha County Sheriff’s Deputies in September, James Kiser first said Crystal Kiser fell and hit her head while they argued in her grandmother’s home. He later said she fell and hit her head on a rock outside of the home, according to the criminal complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.
After he realized Crystal Kiser was dead, James Kiser told deputies he took her body to a remote location in Kenna and buried her there, and he led authorities to that location, where her body was recovered in September, according to the criminal complaint.
Morris, in September, said the initial exam of Crystal Kiser’s remains did not show any signs of a skull fracture.
Crystal Kiser filed domestic violence petitions against James Kiser in 2003 and 2007, Morris said in October. In one of the petitions, she reported her husband had choked her, Morris said.
James Kiser has been incarcerated in South Central Regional Jail since Sept. 6.