Man sentenced in brother’s slaying

EVERETT — They’ve lost one son.

Dan and Kathy Wilhelm on Tuesday fought to save their other boy.

Clint Wilhelm, 28, was shot to death with a 12-gauge shotgun last year.

His younger brother, Kyle admitted to pulling the trigger.

Kyle Wilhelm, 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the March 17, 2007 shooting. He faced more than six years behind bars.

His parents Tuesday urged Snohomish County Superior Court Judge James Allendoerfer not to send him to prison.

“We just don’t want to lose another son,” Dan Wilhelm said.

Allendoerfer agreed not to send Kyle Wilhelm to prison. Instead, he sentenced the Snohomish man to a year in jail.

“I think there are compelling reasons in this case that make a 6 1/2-year sentence inappropriate,” Allendoerfer said.

Clint Wilhelm was shot during an argument. Witnesses said he was drunk and began hitting his girlfriend. When Kyle Wilhelm came to the woman’s aid, Clint Wilhelm turned his anger and violence on his younger brother.

He repeatedly struck his brother and another man who attempted to diffuse the situation, court papers said. Eventually, Kyle Wilhelm went inside his house, grabbed a shotgun and fired the gun into a closed door.

Clint Wilhelm was standing behind the door. He was shot in the face.

Kyle Wilhelm called 911. Police found him at his brother’s side on the front porch, trying to stop the bleeding.

“Kyle loved his brother. He idolized him when he was younger,” Kathy Wilhelm said. “I know he didn’t do this intentionally.”

Dan Wilhelm described the years of abuse his son Kyle endured at the hands of his older brother. The family focused its attention on their older son’s problems. No one ever asked how they could help Kyle, Dan Wilhelm said.

“He needs counseling to get his life together and to be the father he wants to be to his son,” he said.

Kyle Wilhelm has a 13-month-old son. He named the boy after his brother.

“All I think about is my brother and how my actions caused him to die,” Kyle Wilhelm said Tuesday. “I feel guilty everyday. I miss my brother.”

He told Allendoerfer he struggles to deal with the guilt. He also said he didn’t want to go to prison.

“I wish there was an alternative to throwing me away,” Kyle Wilhelm said.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Travis Johnson recommended that Wilhelm be sentenced to more than six years in prison, the low-end of the standard range. Johnson said he couldn’t ignore that Clint Wilhelm’s life was taken and Kyle Wilhelm was responsible for that loss.

Kyle Wilhelm’s attorney Karen Halverson successfully argued that there were mitigating factors that allowed for the judge to order a sentence below the standard, including the repeated abuse by Clint Wilhelm. The slain man also was the primary aggressor in the incident, she said.

Allendoerfer cited a state Supreme Court case that upheld a 90-day sentence for a woman convicted of first-degree manslaughter. The woman killed her boyfriend after he’d severely and repeatedly abused her. The trial judge found that the repeated abuse allowed for a sentence below the standard range and the Supreme Court upheld the sentence.

Allendoerfer said he expects that Wilhelm will get time off for good behavior and credit for the 38 days he’s already served. That means he’ll have about 6 1/2 months to serve. Allendoerfer will allow him to serve half of that time outside of jail, completing a community service project that judge plans to oversee.

“I don’t know if it was an accident or whether he reacted out of fear to additional abuse,” Allendoerfer said.

Tragically, the violence that erupted was almost predictable, Allendoerfer said.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or

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