Air force veteran loses leg in shooting, says newly released ex-wife was involved

After serving in the air force for over 20 years, it was in his own driveway in Farmington that Kevin Kessler was gunned down.

"They told my family to plan for a funeral," Kevin said. "They gave me a 1% chance. They did not think I was going to make it."

The pain of three bullets in his stomach, paled to the thought of never seeing his daughters again.

"'Why?' I remember saying that – ‘Why?’ I was thinking about my girls and my family," the father of two said. "I didn't know if I was going to see them again."

Kevin spent two months in the hospital, and doctors had to amputate his right leg at the hip. Now, he is confined to a wheelchair.

Kevin Kessler of Farmington with his two daughters. (Provided by Kevin Kessler)

"I still have bullet fragments that have been removed as recently as a few weeks ago," he said. "I still have more than I feel. I still have a drain hole that doesn't stop."

The shooting took place in November 2022, when Kevin was in the midst of wrapping up a messy divorce with his ex-wife Nicole Kessler. 

Kevin walked out to his truck, only to find slashed tires. He called Farmington police to make a report – and as he waited for them in the driveway, that’s when a man drove by and opened fire.

The gunman, Matthew Jones, was later convicted and sentenced to 60-80 years in prison. 

Kevin's ex-wife, Nicole, was dating Jones at the time. However, Jones was with his other girlfriend, Kristina Peterson, when he shot Kevin.

"I think he was scamming in a way. I think he saw the payday with a divorce," Kevin said. "They found three entry and exit holes, and they actually found a full bullet in my belt."

Nicole served nine months for lying to a peace officer after her ex-husband's attempted murder. She was released from prison last week.

"I still have my beliefs that she had something behind it," Kevin said, adding that he fears for his safety sometimes. "(Wednesday) was actually one of my first times I jumped and had to sit there for a minute because someone dropped their trashcan when I was outside, I was in the driveway."


Ex-wife sentenced to year in jail for lying to police after ex-husband's attempted murder

Nicole Kessler pled guilty in the shooting that left her ex-husband Kevin Kessler hospitalized for weeks, later being forced to have his leg amputated.

Right now, the Farmington father is not a candidate for a prosthetic, and the phantom pains persist – a reminder of what he lost. But, he does not see it that way.

"I am happy to be alive. I do have that second chance at life," Kevin said.

A Chuchill High School basketball game is raising money to help Kevin and his family on Monday, April 8. Details can be found in the flyer below.