By SHELLEY GRIESHOP
An Auglaize County judge ruled today that Kimberly Anderson
will retain full custody of her children, with visitation rights
granted to their slain father’s family.
Auglaize County Common Pleas Court-Juvenile Division Judge Mark
E. Spees granted visitation of Erik, 5, and Ryan, 4, to their
uncle and aunt, Kevin and Lori Anderson of Cincinnati, but did
not grant the couple full custody as they sought.
Kevin Anderson this morning voiced his disappointment with the
“We’re disappointed but pleased with the unsupervised
visits,” which will commence following a period of supervised
visits, he acknowledged. “If we can help them develop
into healthy, happy adults, then something positive has come
out of this case.”
Kim Anderson told The Daily Standard briefly this morning she
was “thrilled with the verdict.” Her attorney, Rob
Wiesenmayer II of Wapakoneta, commented further.
“We’ve always felt strongly that Kim is a wonderful
mother and I believe evidence in court showed that. We’re
fine with the ruling and have no intention of appealing it,”
The attorney said the custody case “is just another battle
and another road block put in front of Kim that she has had
to overcome. If she is required to protect herself and her children,
she will do that,” he added.
Four months after the shooting death of former Celina attorney
Brent Anderson, 37, in 2001, Kevin Anderson filed the custody
motion with the court.
Brent Anderson was shot to death by Kimberly Anderson, his estranged
wife, on Sept. 2, 2001, in the Wapakoneta home they once shared.
Kimberly Anderson was indicted for his death but acquitted of
all charges during a trial in Oct. 2002, in which she claimed
self-defense. The shooting was the culmination of a heated domestic
dispute, Kimberly Anderson told the court during the trial.
Kimberly Anderson has retained custody of the two young boys
since their father’s death, although she was ordered to
have their grandparents present with her for the first few months
following the shooting.
Kevin Anderson’s attorney, John Poppe of Wapakoneta, told
The Daily Standard this morning the judge apparently did not
accept his “public policy” argument. Poppe said
that a statute of the Ohio Revised Code states that a parent
who kills another parent should not be allowed to retain custody
as an award for their actions.
Spees countered that notion in his ruling stating that the statute
only applies when a conviction of murder occurs, which it did
not in this case. He noted the court disagreed with Kevin Anderson’s
assertion that Kimberly Anderson was wrongfully acquitted of
murder and therefore is an unsuitable parent.
Poppe did acknowledge that he believes Spees reviewed the case
thoroughly and “mapped a plan” in the best interests
of the children — the only thing his clients ever really
wanted, he said.
In the seven-page ruling, Spees denies the motion for custody
to Kevin Anderson and grants the Cincinnati couple supervised
monthly visitation until Dec. 31, 2005. After that date, the
boy’s uncle and aunt will retain unsupervised visitation
one weekend a month. Unsupervised visits could begin much earlier
or later than 2006 depending on the children’s psychological
readiness, Spees wrote.
Spees stated in the ruling that Kimberly Anderson was not proven
to be an unsuitable parent, however it appears she “over-reacted
to many situations” including the perceived danger that
Brent Anderson posed. She also over-reacted by bringing a loaded
gun into the home, by confronting Brent Anderson in her home
while alone, by running from him the day of the shooting and
“certainly over-reacted by shooting him numerous times,”
Spees also stated he felt it would be in the best interest,
as did child experts, to keep the children with their mother,
but allow their father’s family to be a part of their
“They must not grow up with the notion that their father
or paternal relatives are evil people,” he wrote.
Kevin and Lori Anderson also will receive one week of unsupervised
summer visitation with the children beginning in July 2006.
Kimberly Anderson was ordered to continue psychological therapy
for both boys so the children can prepare for the upcoming unsupervised