Crime

Man who coached football and led fitness camps in Bellingham pleads guilty to murder

41 Sports Fitness Boot Camps owner Anthony McClanahan works out with one of his morning classes as part of 41 Sports Fitness Boot Camps at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, July 15, 2009. The former professional football player, who ran youth football camps and was an assistant coach at Sehome, pleaded guilty last month in the 2017 murder of his wife in Park City, Utah.
41 Sports Fitness Boot Camps owner Anthony McClanahan works out with one of his morning classes as part of 41 Sports Fitness Boot Camps at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, July 15, 2009. The former professional football player, who ran youth football camps and was an assistant coach at Sehome, pleaded guilty last month in the 2017 murder of his wife in Park City, Utah. The Bellingham Herald staff

A former professional football player, who ran youth football camps and owned a fitness boot camp in Bellingham and was an assistant coach at Sehome High School, pleaded guilty last month in the 2017 murder of his wife, who also was from Bellingham, in Park City, Utah.

According to a story published March 18 by Fox 13 in Salt Lake City, Anthony Darnel McClanahan, 47, pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain to the murder of 28-year-old Keri Colleen McClanahan. For his guilty plea, prosecutors removed a domestic violence designation and an enhanced penalty for the use of a dangerous weapon and will drop a child kidnapping case against him.

Keri McClanahan, who friends and family called “KC,” was found dead in the Park Regency Resort on Nov. 2, 2017.

Formerly known as Keri Gauf, K.C. was born and raised in Whatcom County, according to her sister, Heather Gauf, who owns Bella Body & Sol Tanning Salon and Spa in Fairhaven, where K.C. used to work as a manager. Much of the Gauf family still lives in Bellingham, including K.C.’s 8- and 10-year-old children from a previous marriage.

“Nothing will ever bring her back,” Heather Gauf told The Bellingham Herald. “That’s the unfortunate part of this. We have to continue without her, and her children have to grow up without her. He murdered her in a brutal and savage way.”

Heather Gauf said her sister was in the process of getting a divorce from Anthony McClanahan and was planning to enlist in the U.S. Air Force at the time she was murdered. K.C. had helped flood victims in Texas earlier in 2017, and that inspired her to continue helping as a member of the military.

K.C. moved back in with her sister in September, Heather Gauf said, after Anthony McClanahan had hit her in the face, and K.C. was scheduled to return to Bellingham the day after she was murdered.

“He took a sweet, loving mother, friend and baby sister to me from us,” Heather Gauf said. “It’s hard being without her. I can only imagine what her children are going through.”

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Keri “K.C.” McClanahan (formerly Gauf), left, poses with her sister Heather Gauf in January of 2017 on Galbraith Mountain. Anthony McClanahan pleaded guilty last month to murdering K.C. in Utah in November of 2017.

Heather Gauf and the family have started a Justice for KC Gauf Facebook page that has more than 1,000 members.

According to the Fox 13 story, court documents showed that Anthony McClanahan flagged down police and said his wife had been attacked by two or three men. Police also reported that Anthony McClanahan had cuts on his face, neck, wrist, arms and torso, and another witness reported seeing him “army crawling” through the complex calling for help.

Sentencing for the murder has been set for April 29, according to Fox 13, and Anthony McClanahan could face between 15 years and life in prison.

As previously reported in The Bellingham Herald, Anthony McClanahan started 41 Sports Fitness Boot Camps in Bellingham in 2009 and later hosted youth football camps in Whatcom County between 2012 and 2016. He also served as linebackers coach at Sehome High School in 2012.

Anthony McClanahan played linebacker at Washington State from 1991 to 1993, according to sports-reference.com. According to the Bakersfield Californian, he grew up in Bakersfield and attended training camp with the Dallas Cowboys in 1994, before playing with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League from 1995 to 1998.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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