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Former Professional Football Player Charged With Killing His Wife Had Preliminary Hearing

A former professional football player charged with killing his wife in Park City in late 2017, received a preliminary hearing in Third District Court on Tuesday.

In the end, Judge Patrick Corum ruled that there was probable cause to bind over 47-year-old Anthony McClanahan for arraignment.

The hearing featured four Park City Police officers who responded to the scene of the homicide. But one other major witness also testified.

During the hearing, which ran up to four hours, the prosecution called on a former cellmate of McClanahan, who talked about admissions the defendant had made about the death of his wife, 28-year-old Keri “KC” McClanahan. Details on that testimony availble here.

First on the witness stand, Sgt. Vai Leialatafeia said that early on the morning November 2nd, 2017, he was patrolling in the Prospector area when he heard a voice calling for help.

He saw a man, later identified as the defendant, crawling on all fours on the berm near the Park Regency Hotel. The sergeant said that McClanahan had lacerations on his hands and face. He wasn’t very specific or direct in his answers but said he had been attacked by some “white guys” in black jackets.

“He just kept saying to me, ‘the guys got her, the guys got her. Help here.’” Leialatafeia explained.

Someone in the court asked. “Did he ever tell you who the guys were?” “No” Leialatafeia replied.

That same person followed up. “Did he ever tell who ‘her’ was?”

“No, not to me.” Leialatafeia said.

The sergeant summoned other officers to the scene. When they gained access to the Park Regency, Sgt. Leialatafeia said the door to Room 332 was ajar, and blood was on the threshold of the unit. KC McClanahan was found inside, lying face down, with blood pooling near her body, dead from multiple stab wounds to the neck. The sergeant said the body was still warm to the touch.

Other officers called testified about the blood trail found at the scene, and the furniture turned over in the unit. They said they did not see any suspects fleeing the scene.

Officer Franco Libertini said that McClanahan was only wearing dark Navy pants, and had no shirt or socks.

He said that McClanahan was not very clear, saying that some white guys had attacked him and one or more family members.

“He wasn’t very specific other than the comments he was making about his baby, somebody taking his baby,” Libertini explained. “He mentioned some comment about some white dudes taking his baby. The next thing he made some comment about his wife. He was going back and forth making comments, ‘my wife, my baby, they took my baby these white guys.’”

Libertini said that the defendant complained that he was bleeding from his neck very badly. He also said he was an NFL player and needed to call his coach.

The officer said he asked McClanahan if he had gotten into an argument with his wife. The defendant said “You….cops” using an obscenity. Libertini said he didn’t consider that a common answer in this situation.

Also testifying, Detective Clint Johnson said McClanahan was taken to Salt Lake for medical treatment, and afterwards he interviewed the defendant at the Murray Police Station.

Detective Johnson said that McClanahan stated he loved his wife, and their two-year-anniversary was coming up in January of 2018. But he said the defendant admitted there were issues in the marriage.

“He mentioned at one point during the interview that she had felt maybe she had rushed into the marriage a little too early,” Detective Johnson explained. “That she wanted to go back to Washington they talked a little bit about that.”

“Did he ever go into any other details whether they were in a lot of disagreements ever or if they had a lot of arguments?” A person in court asked Detective Johnson.

“Yes,” Detective Johnson answered. “They had talked about having an agreement that she could talk with other guys, he could talk with other girls but they weren’t allowed to have sex.”

The defendant claimed that he and his wife were attacked in their condo by two or three white males, described as wearing “long black coats with red eyes.”

“They were holding him down they were making him hit himself, making him cut himself and cursing at him.” Detective Johnson recalled.

McClanahan stated he could hear his wife screaming during the attack.

“He mentioned that they threatened to kill him, to kill her, that he was going to die by suicide. That basically they were going to torture him.” Detective Johnson stated.

“Did he say anything else about this actual altercation or what was happening?” someone in the court asked.

“Not that I can recall,” Detective Johnson answered.

“How did it end?” the person asked.

“He said it just stopped,” Detective Johnson replied.

“Did he say if they just let him up and walked away? What happened?”

“I asked him I said so they just let you go? He said no they just stopped.” Detective Johnson said.

“Was he able to tell where they went?”

“No,” Detective Johnson answered.

According to Johnson, McClanahan said after the attack he kissed his wife’s body and straightened her hair. He said he couldn’t get down to the lobby by the elevator, so he jumped off a second-floor balcony onto a tree.

McClanahan’s two public defenders, Paul Quinlan and Jonathan Johnson, have given notice they will claim Diminished Mental Capacity for their client.

On cross-examination, Johnson asked Sgt. Leialatafeia if he thought the defendant was having a psychotic break or episode.

“Was the nature of his responses an indicia of somebody that may be having a seizure?” Johnson asked.

“If he was communicating with me, no.” Leialatafeia replied.

“With his rambling communication could that have been an indicia of someone having a psychotic issue?” Johnson questioned.

“It could have been.” Leialatafeia said.

“ok, you’ve encountered people with that kind of?” Johnson asked.

“Yes” Leialatafeia answered.

On re-direct Sgt. Leialatafeia said his initial reaction was that he though McClanahan was trying to fake a seizure.

In summary, Deputy County Prosecutor Patricia Cassell said they have shown there is Probable Cause that McClanahan’s wife died by his hands.

“The only two people in the room on November 2nd were Anthony McClanahan and KC McClanahan. All the evidence points to that those two were the only two in the room. The DNA evidence indicates that only two DNA in there, Anthony and Keri McClanahan. Furthermore, there was no way to even get into the hotel. The officers had to have somebody from the inside let them in. The surveillance video shows no one matching the description Anthony made either going in or out of that room. There’s a blood trail that leads directly to where Anthony McClanahan was. There was no way anyone could come over the balcony to get into the room. It’s clear your honor that there’s probable cause to believe that Anthony McClanahan committed this homicide.”

Judge Corum set an arraignment in the case for March 18th at 9:00 am.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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