The Murder of Karl Kiger



From left to right, that's Miss Jenny Kiger, Lieut. Joe Kiger, and Joan Kiger.

Rosegate was the summer home of a prominent Covington politician, Vice Mayor Karl Kiger, who, along with his six year old son Jerry, was shot and killed on the evening of August 17, 1943. The mother was also shot in the hip, although not fatally. An older brother, a Marine Lieutenant, Joe was on duty away from home. Some of the stories mention gambling connections, and there was a controversial $1,440 pinned to the back of a sofa. Three guns were used, firing a total of 15 shots. Police charged both the wife, Jennie Kiger, and the 16 year old daughter, Joan, but only tried the daughter, who was acquitted. 

Joan admitted, while under hypnosis, to doing the shootings, claiming the only reason she didn't kill herself as well was that she ran out of bullets. In her trial in Burlington, the daughter's defense was she suffered from nightmares, and was delusional. It was a condition she said she inherited from her father. The family doctor said she had never been treated for the condition. Joan also said she had awoken from bed, although newspaper stories point out that the bed appeared not to have been slept in. 

While acquitted, Joan was declared insane and was sent to an institution, from which she was released a year later. The picture at the top of this page was taken in the courtroom in the old Burlington Courthouse on December 12, 1943. From left to right, that's Mrs. Jenny Kiger, Lieut. Joe Kiger, and Joan Kiger.

A group from the Boone County Historical Society, in the summer of 2005, did extensive research on the Kiger case, and concluded that Joan likely was suffering from delusional nightmares.

While the mother remained in Covington - she worked at Coppins - Joan moved to Louisville, where she lived under an alias - Marie J Kiler - so secret not even many of her relatives knew it during her lifetime. She died of breast cancer on April 5, 1991.



from various  news accounts from the Kentucky Post and the Times-Star, August and December, 1943