A Wyoming man made threatening statements before killing his wife Sunday, according to investigators.
Dennis Karl Klingbeil, 76, was charged with first-degree murder in documents filed Friday in Park County's Fifth Judicial District Court, five days after police say he fatally shot his wife, Donna Klingbeil, 75.
Court documents supporting the charge describe a monthslong deterioration of the Klingbeils' relationship and a sudden, violent end at a rural residence west of Cody.
The couple was struggling to work out financial arrangements.
Donna Klingbeil told her biological son in April she wanted a divorce because the couple couldn't agree on "modifications to their legal trusts."
The son told police that Dennis Klingbeil was trying to secure a division of assets that would "greatly favor him."
The son also told investigators that Klingbeil made threatening statements in July, "something to the effect of 'if this doesn't work out, then it's not going to work out for anybody.'"
The disagreement appeared to escalate; on Sunday, Donna Klingbeil again called her son and wanted him to get her a ticket to visit him in Illinois because she wanted to get out of the house. She said her husband was "talking about ending his life, questioning the reason for living."
The son talked to Dennis Klingbeil on the phone. Despite attempts to calm him down, Klingbeil told the son that he was "going to put an end to this tonight."
That call took place at about 6 p.m. The son told investigators that Donna Klingbeil was intoxicated and slurring her words.
The Powell Tribune, citing information attached to search warrant applications, reported that 911 dispatch received a hang-up call from the Klingbeil residence at 7:40 p.m.
When the dispatcher called back Donna Klingbeil picked up, according to the Tribune, and told the dispatcher that she and her husband were working on a trust document and had both been drinking alcohol.
The Tribune cites the document:
“Dispatch heard Donna Klingbeil ask Dennis Klingbeil if everything was fine. He responded yes. ... Donna Klingbeil told dispatch that she would call again if they needed a law enforcement response.”
About 80 minutes later, Dennis Klingbeil called his biological son and said he shot his wife, court documents say.
The son, a different relative than Donna Klingbeil's son, "described Dennis' words more as a statement than anything. He said he came across as calm and cold with no concern in his voice... he didn't seem like himself."
The call lasted 46 seconds before Klingbeil hung up.
He told his son to take care of his dog.
The son called police a little before 10 p.m., telling a dispatcher that his father had shot his wife and then attempted to overdose on medications.
A Park County Sheriff's Office deputy and Sheriff Scott Steward arrived at the Klingbeil's home a little after 10:30 p.m.
Steward broke a patio window to enter the home. Dennis Klingbeil was unresponsive, and his wife showed "minimal signs of life."
Donna Klingbeil was flown to a hospital in Billings with a gunshot wound to her head. She was pronounced dead at 12:40 a.m. Monday.
During an autopsy, investigators found gunpowder residue near the entry wound. She was likely shot at close range.
Police recovered a .38 special caliber revolver from the home and found a bullet with "possible biological material on it."
Dennis Klingbeil was taken to a hospital in Cody and kept under guard. Documents requesting that his appearance in court be delayed indicate that he was moved to a detention facility and being kept on suicide watch.
The Cody Enterprise reports Klingbeil was moved Thursday to the Park County Detention Center. Klingbeil was not shown on the jail's inmate roster Friday afternoon.
Documents don't explicitly describe the residence west of Wapiti as the Klingbeils' home. Public property records show that the parcel belongs to the "Klingbeil Trust #1."
The Powell Tribune reports that the trust owns several properties in Cody and Florida.