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LA elementary teacher arrested in estranged wife's stabbing death

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POSTED June 17, 2013 9:05 p.m.


 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles elementary school teacher accused of chasing down and fatally stabbing his estranged wife had threatened to kill her using piano wire, an ice pick, guns or pipe bombs, court documents allege.

Michael Rodney Kane, 46, was arrested Monday in San Bernardino County for allegedly killing his wife, Michelle Ann Kane, 43, on a San Fernando Valley neighborhood street Saturday.

Police kicked in the door of a Joshua Tree motel and arrested Kane, detective Dave Peteque said. He did not resist arrest but was treated at a hospital for cuts and puncture wounds, the investigator said.

Michelle Kane was killed shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday, one day after she reported to police that her husband had violated a restraining order and vandalized the home they had shared, police said.

She was staying with friends in West Hills when Michael Kane showed up, forced his way inside and confronted his wife, who fled, Lt. Warren Jones said.

Kane scuffled with and cut the homeowner's hand when he tried to intervene, caught up to his wife then repeatedly stabbed her, police said.

Michelle Kane died at the scene. The homeowner was treated at a hospital and released, Jones said.

Michelle Kane wrote in a petition for a restraining order in April that she lived in fear of her husband. She wrote that her husband had been hospitalized last May because of suicidal thoughts and stopped seeing his psychiatrist after his release.

After 11 years of marriage, the couple separated in December, according to court documents. Michelle Kane said after their separation her husband became "increasingly threatening, violent and abusive."

She detailed multiple instances of alleged abuse, including an instance where she was hit in the eye by a frozen ice cream thrown at her face and left bruised in front of their 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

She said her husband threatened to put a tracker in her car, called her phone repeatedly and left threatening voicemails. She said she'd delayed the request for a restraining order because she was worried about his reaction.

"I am afraid that he is going to do something drastic," she wrote. "I believe that a restraining order is absolutely necessary to protect me and my children."

The restraining order was granted. In a May hearing, Michael Kane requested more time to hire a lawyer or prepare a response and another hearing was set for June 28.

Kane's attorney could not be immediately reached Monday.

On Friday, Michelle Kane had gone to Los Angeles police twice and had called again later that day to "seek assistance from what she considered an imminent threat to her life and the lives of her children," attorney Steve Mindel, whose legal team represented Michelle Kane, said in a statement issued Monday.

Sgt. Al Flores told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday that Kane's wife had reported her husband to police at the Topanga Station only hours before the killing.

"She came in here the night before and said that they were going through a divorce and that she was concerned, that she was worried," Flores said.

An officer at the station spent more than an hour with Michelle Kane on Friday night.

"I believe that everything that we could possibly do for her was done," Flores said.

Next door neighbor Loni Specter, 63, recalled the bloodshed Monday. He said the homeowner that Michelle Kane had been staying with told him that Michael Kane was a friend of 20 years, and that Michael had calmly walked up to the front door that morning and asked to speak to his wife.

When the homeowner said he didn't think it was a good idea, Michael Kane busted the door open, knocking the homeowner down, Specter recounted to The Associated Press.

The homeowner wrestled with Kane, who had a knife. When the homeowner grabbed the knife it split his hand open, at which point the homeowner shouted for Kane's wife to run, Specter said he was told.

Kane caught up with his wife, stabbing her until she collapsed in the street, police said; a neighbor estimated it was about 80 feet from the house. Kane continued to stab her, then fled, police said.

Specter's daughter was on the way to work when she heard screaming outside and saw a man standing over a bleeding woman.

She ran back into the house shouting for her family to wake up and called 911. When they got outside, they saw the homeowner cradling the woman who had been stabbed in the cheek, chest and stomach area, and many times in the back.

Dropped by the woman's side was a folding pocket knife with a 5- to 6-inch blade, Specter said.

"My son and my wife tried to stem the bleeding, but it was impossible," Specter said. "The woman was literally dead within moments of hitting the pavement."

Court documents say Kane has been a teacher since 1997, and school officials confirmed that he is a teacher at Nestle Avenue Charter Elementary School in Tarzana. He's expected to be charged with murder and arraigned Wednesday morning in a Van Nuys courtroom, Jones said.

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