Bartender says murder suspect threatened to kill husband - WKRN News 2

Bartender says murder suspect threatened to kill husband

Kelley Cannon is charged with first degree murder in the death of her estranged husband. Kelley Cannon is charged with first degree murder in the death of her estranged husband.
James Cannon was found strangled to death on June 23, 2008. James Cannon was found strangled to death on June 23, 2008.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jurors in the trial of the Green Hills woman charged with first degree murder in the death of her estranged husband heard testimony Wednesday from a bartender who waited on Kelley Cannon just weeks before her husband was found strangled to death.

In May of 2008, Aaron Bagley was working as a bartender at Hickory Falls Bar and Grill in Smyrna.

He told the courtroom Wednesday a woman came in and sat at the end of the bar and began telling him about her bitter divorce.

Bagley testified she told him her husband was cheating on her.

"They were going through a divorce and if he tried to take the babies from her, she said that she would kill him," Bagley recalled.  "She seemed very distraught, angry, bitter, just real emotional and unstable."

Bagley said she made repeated threats throughout their conversation that she would kill her husband but said he didn't really take her threats seriously and thought she was just "blowing off steam."

Bagley said the woman drank more than one glass of wine and ate salmon at the bar.

He said their conversation was "unusual and memorable."

In his testimony, he said a few weeks after their encounter he saw the story about James Cannon's death on the news along with a picture of his wife and realized she was the same woman from the bar.

"I was watching the news.  I had heard stories about this case.  I saw her picture and recognized it was the same lady in the bar that day."  He continued, "I said, ‘Holy s#%$,' and called my stepdad, who is a police officer in Metro."

At the time, Kelley Cannon had been removed from the family home on Bowling Avenue in Green Hills because of drug use and domestic problems with her husband.

She was moving from hotel to hotel and was staying in a Smyrna hotel when she visited Bagley's bar.

On June 23, 2008, the morning James Cannon's body was discovered, police found the couple's three children at Kelley Cannon's apartment.

In a taped interview played in court Wednesday, retired Metro police Det. Brad Putnam asked Cannon how the children ended up at her apartment when their father had custody.

While she admitted going to her family's Bowling Avenue home around 11 p.m. the night before, she denied seeing her husband.

She said she gained entry to the home through the back door, which was unlocked and partially open.

She told police the house was a mess and there were beer cans everywhere.

"There was a chest of drawers turned over that I saw and that scared me to death," Kelley Cannon said.

When Det. Putnam asked why she didn't call police, she cited the order of protection her husband had against her.

"He has been threatening me with the order of protection.  He said he was going to send me to jail," she told investigators.

"I was scared, but I was more scared for my children to tell you the truth," she continued.  "I just wanted to get them to a safe place.  That's all I could think about."

Cell phone records indicate Kelley Cannon had a nearly hour long conversation with her mother, Diane Sanders, around 6 p.m. that evening.

Sanders testified Tuesday she had not spoken to her daughter on the phone.  She said at the time, they weren't on speaking terms.

The key to the state's case is surveillance video that shows Kelley Cannon stealing a box of latex gloves from a Walgreen's store on June 22, 2008.

The defense said she made no attempt to hide the gloves, forgot she had them and that is why she walked out of the store without paying.

A tip of a latex glove was recovered from the bedroom where James Cannon was found dead.

The piece had Kelley Cannon's DNA on the inside and James Cannon's DNA on the outside.

Also, a black pair of jeans collected from her had a bleach spot on the knee.

Investigators reported a strong odor of bleach in the closet where James Cannon's body was found, along with an empty bottle of bleach nearby.

James and Kelley Cannon were married for 12 years.  Their children, who were nine, seven and 18 months at the time of the murder, are in the custody of James Cannon's sister.

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