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KIMBELL TRIAL In brief



Published: Tue, April 30, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Defense attorney Thomas Leslie showed jurors a videotape taken from a state police helicopter the day of the murders. He pointed out that trees and a large field separated a barn on U.S. Route 422 and Hillsville Road from the murder scene at 100 Ambrosia Road.

Prosecution witness William Lester previously testified that he overheard Kimbell talking about the murders when they were both in jail in 1996. Lester contends Kimbell said he hid in a barn and watched the Dryfuse home before killing a woman and three children inside. The barn was destroyed by fire shortly after the murders.

William Panella, former Lawrence County district attorney, testified that he sent a letter in 1998 to incoming District Attorney Matthew Mangino about the status of several plea agreements, including one for Lester. The letter said Lester is a material witness in the Kimbell trial and something should be worked out after his testimony, Panella said. Lester is serving a five-year sentence for rape.

Mangino said after court he is unaware of any special treatment given to Lester because of his testimony in Kimbell's first trial. Kimbell was convicted of the murders in 1998, but granted a new trial by the state Supreme Court.

Panella also added he doesn't remember getting a telephone call from a man who claims to have seen Kimbell just outside 100 Ambrosia Road the afternoon of the murders. Gino Sapanero said he saw Kimbell outside the Dryfuse trailer that afternoon and reported it to Panella after hearing about the murders.

Wayne Strobel of Strobel's Alternator Service said there's no record of John Dryfuse, father-in-law of victim Bonnie Lou Dryfuse, picking up a part at his store the afternoon of the murders. Strobel noted that each item they fix is assigned a number and they do not assign names, so he can't be sure if Dryfuse was there that day. John Dryfuse has said his son, Thomas Dryfuse, was with him during the time the murders occurred and could not have been the killer.




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