It’s early on a November morning, and police are called to a condominium in a Utah snow resort. There, they find that a young woman has been horrifically slain, with fatal knife wounds in her neck. Soon, the finger of suspicion lands on her new husband – a footballer once set to be a star of the NFL.
Anthony McClanahan was born on April 3, 1971, in Bakersfield, a city in Kern County, California. His father had been a star football player with the Minnesota Vikings, and it was clear from a young age that Anthony would follow in his footsteps.
At Bakersfield High School, Anthony began his football career with a bang. In fact, he was part of an undefeated team, still remembered today as one of the best that the school has ever seen. After graduating, he attended Washington State University, where his skills as a linebacker continued to impress.
By the time that Anthony left university, the big leagues had come calling. Invited to a training camp for the Dallas Cowboys, he looked set for a career in the NFL. However, in 1994 he ended up as one of nine players who were cut before the season began.
Rather than give up on his dreams, Anthony headed to Canada, where he joined the Calgary Stampeders. But after four seasons, he retired from the game. His career over, he began lamenting the injuries that he had suffered while playing the sport.
Nonetheless, Anthony began to adjust to life without football. At some point in the late 2000s, he began a relationship and fathered a son. Things didn’t work out, however. Then, in 2016 he met a local woman known as Keri, or KC, while working as a personal trainer in Bellingham, Washington.
Soon, Anthony began a relationship with Keri, who had two young children of her own. Things moved fast, and on January 14, 2017, the couple tied the knot at Bellingham’s Galbraith Mountain Bike Park. Afterwards, the couple moved to Glendale, a city some nine miles north of Phoenix, Arizona.
There, Anthony set up a business called 41 Sports. According to their social media pages, the couple lived a full and happy life, sharing a passion for fitness and working out. Additionally, both Anthony and Keri were interested in humanitarian issues, sometimes traveling to assist in disaster zones.
When Hurricane Harvey devastated large parts of Texas in September 2017, Anthony and Keri visited the region to lend a hand. That same month, they also traveled to Puerto Rico, where Keri wrote about the plight of the locals on the storm-ravaged island.
But although Anthony and Keri appeared to be the perfect couple, trouble was brewing behind the scenes. According to Keri’s sister, Heather Gauf, Anthony could sometimes be violent and once punched Keri after a donation went awry.
Wanting to put some distance between them, Keri went back to Washington. Then, on September 3 Anthony apparently made a bizarre decision. Allegedly, he collected his son, now eight, from his school in Arizona, and promptly hit the road. But when the boy’s mother contacted him, he reportedly refused to relinquish custody.
Instead, he took the boy on an extended trip across Nevada and Utah. According to Heather, he planned to visit family in Utah and land his son a role in a Disney TV show. Eventually, Keri went to support her husband, although her sister claims that she was planning on leaving him once things had settled down.
On October 12 police caught up with Anthony, and his son was taken away. But although he was facing charges of child kidnapping, he was allowed out on bond. Days later, Anthony and Keri began renting an apartment at the Park Regency, a resort in the Utah ski destination of Park City.
In the early hours of November 2, another resident alerted police to a commotion coming from the McClanahans’ third-story room. Around the same time, officers discovered Anthony outside the complex. He was covered in blood and claimed that Keri and his baby had been assaulted.
Meanwhile, officers had arrived at Anthony and Keri’s condominium. Inside, Keri’s bloody body was found in the bed. There was no baby present, and her throat had been cut. She was just 28 years old. Soon, Anthony found himself the prime suspect for the brutal murder.
But did Anthony really slaughter his wife in cold blood? According to Justin Peppars, who grew up in Bakersfield, the ex-footballer had been behaving strangely for a number of months. Apparently, he had begun making bizarre posts on Facebook, claiming – among other things – to work for the Department of Homeland Security.
“His erratic behavior disturbed me to the point where I wondered if someone was going to get hurt,” Peppars told Bakersfield.com in November 2017. In the meantime, Anthony had reportedly begun posting videos online. In them, he claimed to be haunted by the aftereffects of concussions suffered in his sporting career.
“I work nonstop because I’m scared to go to sleep at night,” Anthony apparently announced in a video that has since been deleted. “Because when I go to sleep, my head hurts – and I feel like I wanna attack another quarterback.” In the interview, Peppars claimed that he could not tell if the posts were a cry for help or something more sinister.
On November 13 Anthony was charged with Keri’s murder. According to prosecutors, she had put up a struggle before being stabbed to death. Allegedly, Anthony used a knife that his wife had worn around her wrist to inflict the fatal wounds.
Currently, the courts have yet to reach a decision regarding Anthony’s guilt. Meanwhile, Keri’s family have been left to pick up the pieces. “This is going to deeply affect my little niece and nephew, to know that their mother was murdered,” Heather told The Salt Lake Tribune in November 2017.