For about six hours, the body of Kimberly Bess lay where she was shot multiple times Saturday while mowing the yard at her parents’ house on the 100 block of Florida Street in Laurium.
A nearby neighbor said she heard a rapid series of sounds she thought were fireworks at about 6 p.m. She heard the sounds inside her house with the windows closed and the air conditioning on.
Bess, 43, was cutting the grass because her parents were on a trip to Europe. According to the neighbor, the couple had lived there for about six months.
The only person staying at the house was Bess’s 32-year-old brother, Christian Kitti.
According to acquaintances and relatives, Kitti, on probation for drunk driving convictions, had been acting strangely in the days leading up to the homicide.
According to a formal homicide charge filed Monday, while Bess was mowing the lawn on Saturday, Kitti is accused of shooting her several times with a handgun registered in his name. Police have not commented on Kitti’s motive, but Houghton County Prosecutor Michael Makinen said at the arraignment that alcohol was a factor in the crime. As a condition of his probation, Kitti was taking daily breathalyzer tests at the Laurium police station, Makinen said.
Witnesses said they observed Kitti leaving the scene shortly after the shooting.
Bess’s body was found by her husband at about 11:45 p.m. A neighbor said she heard the husband shouting at about that time.
Laurium police reported that Kitti was at the residence in possession of the firearm when they arrived on the scene. It is not known when Kitti returned there after leaving the scene following the shooting.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8.