Crime

He showed up in court in a wheelchair, but his lawyer doesn’t know why

Anthony McClanahan, works out with one of his morning classes at Boulevard Park in Bellingham on July 15, 2009.
Anthony McClanahan, works out with one of his morning classes at Boulevard Park in Bellingham on July 15, 2009. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

A former personal trainer charged with killing his wife by cutting her throat this month at a Utah ski town resort made his first court appearance Wednesday in a wheelchair and his lawyer said he didn’t know why his client used it.

Anthony D. McClanahan, who led boot-camp workouts and coached youth football in Bellingham before his wife’s death, did not use a wheelchair when he was arrested in a separate case weeks before the slaying in Park City, officials said.

Defense attorney John Johnson said he did not know why McClanahan was in the wheelchair, The Deseret News reported. Johnson said he’s still gathering information about the case.

McClanahan was not asked to enter a plea during the procedural hearing.

McClanahan, 46, suffered superficial cuts in the deadly Nov. 2 struggle with his wife at the Park Regency hotel, prosecutors said in charging documents.

McClanahan is charged with murder in the death of 28-year-old Keri “KC” McClanahan, formerly Keri Gauf of Bellingham. Prosecutors say her throat was cut with a small, sharp knife she wore sheathed in a bracelet, authorities said.

Keri McClanahan
Keri “KC” McClanahan Heather Gauf AP

She was found dead in their hotel room and he was found crawling on the ground outside the hotel. He told police that he and his wife had been attacked, according to court documents. Investigators have said they found no evidence of anyone else entering the couple’s room.

The couple was married in January but their relationship had a history of domestic violence, according to Keri’s sister, Heather Gauf, in an earlier interview with the Salt Lake Tribune. Heather Gauf owns Bella Body & Soul in Fairhaven.

McClanahan is also charged separately with child kidnapping. Prosecutors say he picked up his 8-year-old son from another relationship in Arizona and took him to Salt Lake City without the mother’s permission in October, weeks before the slaying.

He did not use a wheelchair when he was arrested in October, Salt Lake County Jail Sgt. Kevin Hunter told The Associated Press. Hunter declined to comment on why McClanahan was using the wheelchair Monday, citing medical privacy laws.

McClanahan grew up in California and later played football as a linebacker at Washington State University. He attended a training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, but was cut prior to the 1994 regular season and never played a game in the NFL. He played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League from 1995 to 1998.

McClanahan's next hearing on the murder charge has been set for Dec. 4. He is scheduled to return to court in Salt Lake City on Friday in the child kidnapping case.

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