Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wife of Nashville attorney gets life in strangling death

A Nashville woman who got her husband drunk then strangled him by wrapping a cell phone cord around his neck was sentenced to life without parole for at least 51 years last Thursday. Kelley Cannon was found guilty of 1st degree murder in the strangulation death of her husband James "Jim" Cannon on June 23, 2008. The verdict and sentence were handed down by a Davidson County court Thursday, April 29, after an hour of deliberation.

A cleaning lady found his body in a bedroom closet in his 710 Bowling Ave. home. Kelley Cannon claimed she went to the home the previous evening and found the back door open and no sign of her husband.

However, investigations found discolored pants from bleach Kelley used to try to destroy DNA, and gloves stolen from a Walgreens which matched gloves found at the scene of the murder.

Witnesses called by the prosecution testified about forensic evidence that officials said link Kelley to the murder scene including the tip of a latex glove that contained her DNA.

Brad Putnam was the lead investigator in the murder case. He told the jury Wednesday he found a box of gloves at Kelley's home the day after Jim was found dead in his Green Hills home. "I noticed a box of latex gloves, and the name brand was Walgreens. The corner of the box was missing," said Putnam.

Prosecutors said the tip of glove found at the crime scene contains Kelley's DNA on the inside, and her husband's on the outside. The jury also saw surveillance video showing Kelley taking a box of gloves from a nearby Walgreens the same night as the murder.

In a phone conversation played to the jury Wednesday, Kelley explained to a friend that she used the gloves when coloring her hair.

Prosecution witnesses brought up implied Kelley's motive for the murder was anger at her husband's affairs, her anger of Jim's full custody of their 3 children, and to cover up her own affair. Rick Greene, a "lover" of Kelley, stated he believed Kelley knew about the murder of Jim. "I said look me in the eye and tell me you didn't know his body was in the closet. She said ‘Rick, I can't tell you anything because I don't want you to have to lie.'"

Aaron Bagley, a Smynra bartender, stated that she told him "He was flying women to come see him in other states. They were going through a divorce, and if he tried to take the babies from her that she would kill him."

Her attorney Peter Strianse, said at 5' 3" and around 100 pounds, she was simply too weak to commit the crime. He also tried to convince the jury that police did a sloppy job investigating the case. He argued they didn't check thoroughly on other potential suspects, and did not proceed carefully enough in evidence gathering.

Jurors found that  the victim's blood alcohol content of 0.15 and willingness of the defendant to murder overcomes body strength differences.

After the verdict, Jim's family offered this statement.

We are grateful to have this behind us. We feel that justice has been served, and thank the members of the jury for their careful attention to the facts of the case. Our family appreciates the efforts of the local authorities, and the support and well-wishes of everyone as we return our focus onto our family.

Kelley's mother, Diane Sanders, told reporters, "I still believe in my heart that my daughter didn't do this deed. There are some things that didn't come out that should have been."

Assistant DA Katy Miller said "Whenever there's a death involved and three children have lost their father, it's not victory but justice was done. Still it's a sad day all around." The children have filed a $40 million wrongful death lawsuit against their mother regarding their father's death.

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