DA will not seek death penalty in Lesyshen case
Steamboat Springs — Routt County District Attorney Brett Barkey announced Tuesday that he will not pursue the death penalty against Lisa Lesyshen, the woman accused of killing her 9-year-old son, Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan.
The announcement came after a hearing Tuesday when Lesyshen’s arraignment was rescheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 13. Public defender Scott Troxell wanted to delay the hearing to allow time for Lesyshen to consider the results of a mental health evaluation. Troxell anticipates possibly entering a not guilty plea by reason of insanity.
When deciding whether to pursue the death penalty, Barkey said in a press release that his office sought input from Asher’s father, Michael Kirlan, who was awakened during the early morning hours of May 29 to the sound of gunshots.
“We also consulted closely with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, who responded to the scene and led the investigation,” Barkey said. “After carefully considering the evidence, the legal analysis, the recommendations of the Routt County Sheriff’s Office and Mr. Kirlan’s desires, I have concluded that seeking the death penalty is not appropriate in this case.”
Lesyshen has been charged with first-degree murder involving domestic violence and child abuse resulting in death.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Barkey also provided an update on Lesyshen’s medical condition. She now is paralyzed after shooting herself and is being held at the Denver County Jail infirmary.
Accommodating Lesyshen’s right to attend past and future hearings has been a challenge, and it is still unclear where future hearings or a trial would take place. A video conference was used at one hearing. Lesyshen appeared by telephone during her advisement, and her preliminary hearing was held in a Denver courtroom.
Barkey explained that Lesyshen is characterized as a new paraplegic, and it takes a new paraplegic six to 12 months to stabilize and learn to live with their disability.
“Until that person is stabilized, she requires 24/7 medical attention,” Barkey said.
Barkey said he, along with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office officials, think that at this time, Lesyshen should remain at the Denver County Jail infirmary.
It would be expensive to house and care for Lesyshen in Routt County, Barkey said. Special equipment would need to be purchased, and four nurses would need to be hired and likely put up in housing. Barkey said he was in a bit of a quandary should proceedings progress to a trial lasting three or four weeks.
There have been some mentions during proceedings about holding the trial outside Routt County.
A learn-by-doing methodology was on display Friday at the Loudy-Simpson Park pond as Moffat County High School science students learned quickly whether or not they had a future in engineering.