Kinser gets up to 40 years

News Photo by Julie Riddle Mark Kinser stands with his lawyer to hear the sentence handed down Monday for the murder of his brother Brian in Montmorency County.

ATLANTA — A dozen residents sat quietly in the 26th Circuit Court courtroom in Atlanta on Monday as Judge Michael Mack sentenced Mark Kinser to 16 to 40 years in prison for the murder of his brother, Brian, in Mark’s home in Briley Township.

Mark and Brian’s mother, Marsha, kneaded her hands as Mark’s lawyer, William Weise, made a statement requesting a lenient sentence for his client. He recounted the evening of the murder last April, when an argument about music between the two intoxicated men turned into a scuffle that led to Mark Kinser grabbing a loaded gun, walking down a hallway and shooting his brother as he lay on the floor.

The entire incident took probably 20 seconds, Weise said. Half a minute to end one life and change many others.

Before the incident, Mark Kinser was seen by family and friends as kindhearted and peaceful, according to Weise. He urged the judge to think of the pain of the defendant’s mother, who had urged him to communicate her belief that Brian Kinser would have asked that the judge sentence his brother mercifully.

Mark Kinser read a brief statement, acknowledging the pain others were feeling.

“I’m sorry Connie lost a husband. I’m sorry my parents lost a son. I know a lot of people have lost a kind and generous friend,” Mark Kinser said, refering to his brother as his best friend.

When it was her turn to speak, the widow of the murdered man held up a photo of their wedding day. Connie Kinser held emotion in check as she spoke of her husband being shot five times in the head and of his 85 minutes of agony after first responders arrived before he finally died. As she painted a picture of the pain Mark Kinser had inflicted on her and her family, she slowly ripped the wedding picture into ever-smaller segments.

“You killed my husband,” Connie Kinser said, laying the pile of torn paper on the defendant’s table. “And what do I have left? Pieces.”

Citing the 25 years she and Brian Kinser had had together, Connie Kinser requested that the judge sentence Mark to 25 years in prison with no chance for parole.

Mack addressed those in attendance before handing down his sentence. He spoke of his own two children and said he couldn’t imagine a parent’s pain in burying a child. He spoke, too, of the family dynamics dating back over 40 years that were a component of the case before him, dynamics that included violence and alcohol.

“Alcohol is not a defense,” Mack said, but it was a mitigating factor in the crime that couldn’t be overlooked in determining sentencing.

“If not for alcohol, that man would still be alive,” Mack said to the defendant. “Not his use – your use of alcohol. Your abuse of alcohol.”

Michigan sentencing guidelines allowed for a minimum sentence of 12 to 20 years. Somewhere in the middle seemed right, Mack said. Mark Kinser was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in prison and will not be eligible for parole until that time has passed.

“I’m glad I don’t have these cases every day,” Mack said with a shake of his head.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or