A man who has admitted killing his wife with his bare hands described in a calm, taped confession to police what was going through his mind as he strangled her.
“She told me ‘I wish I could have you killed. It would make things easier. Then I wouldn’t have to pay your next month’s rent,’” Kenneth Gann said on the tape about the night of March 2, 2008, when he and estranged wife Robyn Burns Gann began a heated argument about their marriage in their Hixson home.
Then, according to Mr. Gann, his wife threatened to have him thrown in jail, said he would never see their 2-year-old son again and began choking him.
“That’s when I snapped,” Mr. Gann said calmly in the audio-recorded confession, played Wednesday for jurors during his Hamilton County Criminal Court trial on a first-degree murder charge. “I guess that back part of my brain was like, ‘If she’s going to send you to jail anyway and she’s choking you, go ahead and choke her.’ I know I’m the man and she’s the woman ... but I just couldn’t stop.”
Jurors will begin deliberating Mr. Gann’s fate after closing arguments are made this morning.
The defense readily admits that Mr. Gann killed Mrs. Gann, 25, but argues that the decision to do so was irrational and unplanned. If jurors agree, they could convict him of a lesser homicide crime such as manslaughter, which does not carry life in prison as punishment.
In denying a last-minute defense motion to drop the first-degree murder charge, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman ruled that the jury ultimately would have to decide what happened that night.
The 34-minute tape played Wednesday is a graphic description of a troubled relationship in which Mr. Gann said he and his wife both loved and hated each other.
In the confession, Mr. Gann said that, when he thought his wife’s larynx had snapped, he grabbed a pillow to “speed it up” so she wouldn’t suffer. It took four minutes for her to die, Mr. Gann said, after which he tried to suffocate himself with a plastic bag.
“I had just killed this woman that I loved. The least I could do was take (my life),” he said on the tape.
The prosecution argues that such details prove Mr. Gann contemplated his actions. The element of contemplation is required to convict someone of first-degree murder.
To illustrate the state’s point, Executive Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston asked the court Wednesday morning to sit in silence for four minutes to experience the amount of time the defendant said it took to kill Mrs. Gann.