Insanity plea being considered by Lesyshen’s attorney |

Insanity plea being considered by Lesyshen’s attorney

Lisa Lesyshen, accused of murdering her 9-year-old son, Asher, cries Nov. 13 during a preliminary hearing in Denver.
Scott Franz

— Lawyers for the Routt County woman accused of murdering her 9-year-old son anticipate possibly entering a not guilty plea by reason of insanity.

Lisa Lesyshen is scheduled to enter a plea during her arraignment Dec. 20, but her attorney, public defender Scott Troxell, is asking that the arraignment be delayed.

In a motion filed Tuesday in District Court, Troxell wrote, that since September, his office has been trying to find an expert to evaluate Lesyshen’s mental health status when the May 29 shooting occurred. The expert is scheduled to meet with Lesyshen at the Denver County Jail infirmary Thursday. She is being held there because officials in Routt County are not able to take care of the now-paralyzed woman. Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies said Lesyshen shot herself in the neck area after shooting her son, Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan.

Lesyshen is scheduled to be evaluated by the defense expert eight days before the arraignment. Troxell claims that is not enough time to consult with Lesyshen about the results of the evaluation and the implications the evaluation will have on her case.

Colorado law requires that Lesyshen would need to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity during the arraignment. Troxell wrote that the arraignment also might need to be delayed because death is a possible penalty that District Attorney Brett Barkey could pursue.

“Several legal issues will need to be resolved prior to the arraignment, including, but not limited to, constitutional issues surrounding the entry of a plea … in a case where the possible penalty includes death,” Troxell wrote.

Troxell has asked 14th Judicial District Chief Judge Michael O’Hara to reschedule the arraignment for the second week of February.

Lesyshen’s preliminary hearing was held Nov. 13 in a Denver courtroom. During the hearing, recordings were played from when Michael Kirlan called 911 to report his wife had shot their son. During the hearing, Kirlan testified that two days before the shooting, his wife had learned he was seeing another woman.

Also during the hearing, a recording was played from an interview with Lesyshen conducted at Denver Health Medical Center by a Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputy. During the interview, Lesyshen admitted to shooting her son.

That recording along with the 911 recordings were deemed public record this week by O’Hara.

The Steamboat Today obtained copies of the recordings. A portion of the interview that contains Lesyshen’s confession is being made available on the newspaper’s website. It is a poor-quality recording, and parts are difficult to understand.

The newspaper has chosen to withhold the 911 recordings.

In the 911 recordings, Kirlan frantically asks for help for his son, and he tells the 911 dispatcher he could hear his wife upstairs.

“She wants me to kill her,” Kirlan said. “I’m not touching her.”

During the 11-minute interview with the confession, the deputy asks Lesyshen how she knew her son had been shot.

“Because I did it,” Lesyshen said. “I’m probably not supposed to tell you that.”

Lesyshen was then read her rights, and the deputy asked her if there was anything she wanted to say.

“I think I gave you everything you need,” Lesyshen said.

At the end of the interview the deputy asked Lesyshen why she shot herself.

“In the dark of the dark, I thought that was the best situation,” she said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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