Utah judge sends ex-football player to prison for up to life for Park City murder (updated) | ParkRecord.com

Utah judge sends ex-football player to prison for up to life for Park City murder (updated)

Anthony Darnel McClanahan.
Courtesy of the Salt Lake County jail

A 3rd District Court judge on Monday sentenced a former professional football player to prison for a term of 15 years to life for the murder of his wife, saying the man remains unremorseful after the 2017 slashing death in a Park City hotel.

Judge Patrick Corum told Anthony McClanahan he does not expect him to be released from prison. The judge did not make extensive comments before rendering the sentence. McClanahan, shackled and wearing a dark prison jumpsuit, was led out of the courtroom through a side door.

McClanahan in March pleaded guilty to murder in the death of his wife, Keri Colleen McClanahan. He slashed her to death with a bracelet knife at the Park Regency hotel in Prospector. The plea was part of a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop an enhancement to the murder charge based on a dangerous weapon being used as well as agreeing to remove a designation of domestic violence in the case.

McClanahan, 48, read a letter to the judge prior to the sentencing, saying he was sorry for what occurred and asking for forgiveness. He said he is working hard spiritually and mentioned the possibility of programs while he is incarcerated. He said he missed the victim and said he hoped the family of the victim could forgive him over time. McClanahan spoke about the victim’s relief work and how she helped other people. He called her “my soul mate.”

“I do miss K.C. very much,” McClanahan said.

John Johnson, the public defender assigned to McClanahan, said McClanahan accepted responsibility for the death and did not want the family to endure additional trauma. Johnson said afterward McClanahan did lots of “soul searching” as he made the decision to enter the guilty plea. McClanahan is sorrowful and remorseful, he said.

The judge rendered the sentence after emotional comments from the victim’s siblings. They talked about her volunteer work, including hurricane relief, said the loss was devastating for the family, told the judge they were heartbroken for the victim’s children and said McClanahan did not show remorse. Christine Schmitt, an older sister, told the judge her sister was “brutally taken.”

Schmitt described the victim as sweet, kind and generous, saying she always helped others and she was a “bright light.” She said her sister will not be there for her kids as they grow up.

“No graduations. No proms. No weddings,” Schmitt said.

Heather Gauf, another older sister, said McClanahan was controlling and verbally and physically abusive toward the victim, whom she described as a loving mother. The murder was not the first act of physical abuse by McClanahan, she said. Gauf was emotional and struggled to keep her composure as she addressed the judge. She said others feared for the victim’s safety.

“She was here to help people,” Gauf said, adding, “Anthony took her from all of us.”

Gauf argued for McClanahan’s incarceration, telling the judge he would kill another person if given the chance.

The murder occurred in November of 2017. The victim was 28. Prosecutors said she suffered cuts to her neck and wounds consistent with her attempting to defend herself. The Park City Police Department arrested McClanahan shortly after. A sergeant found him at 1:30 a.m. on his stomach crawling in a landscaped area outside the hotel before he stood up to wave down the sergeant. McClanahan told the sergeant two or three men attacked himself, his wife and his baby, prosecutors have said. Police officers found the victim unresponsive in a hotel room. Attorneys for McClanahan at an earlier point in the case indicated he intended to argue he had a diminished mental capacity as part of the defense.

McClanahan played college football at Washington State University and went on to play in the Canadian Football League.

Prosecutors in Salt Lake County and Maricopa County, Arizona, will dismiss cases against McClanahan 30 days after the sentencing on Monday. The Salt Lake County case involves a count of child kidnapping. The prosecutors in those jurisdictions agreed to the plea deal crafted by Summit County prosecutors and McClanahan’s side in the murder case. 

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