Kalispell Man Imprisoned for Wife’s Murder Denied Parole

By Beacon Staff

KALISPELL (AP) – Parole has been denied for a Kalispell man serving a 110-year prison sentence for murdering his wife at the couple’s bowling alley in 1979 and trying to make it look like a robbery.

The state Board of Pardons and Parole heard testimony on Jerry Forsyth’s application last week and made its ruling Tuesday.

“The abhorrent nature of (the) offense… and the strong objection from criminal justice authorities and/or citizenry, demonstrates that there is reasonable probability that (Forsyth) cannot be released at this time without being a detriment to (himself) or the community,” board members wrote in their decision.

Forsyth stood trial three times for the murder. His first conviction, in 1980, was overturned by the state Supreme Court because the sentencing judge did not include the legal definition of murder in jury instructions. A second trial in late 1982 resulted in a deadlocked jury.

He was convicted at a third trial in December 1985.

Karen Forsyth was shot to death at the couple’s Kalispell bowling alley, where Forsyth was found with a superficial head injury. He said an intruder had shot his wife, knocked him out and robbed the business.

However, an employee of the bowling alley, facing an unrelated charge, later testified that he and Forsyth had planned the murder, executed it and tried to cover it up.