• Former fitness instructor and football coach in Bellingham pleads guilty to murder

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    PARK CITY, Utah - A former football coach and fitness instructor in Bellingham pleaded guilty last month to the November 2017 murder of his wife in Park City, Utah. 

    According to a story posted in March by Fox 13 in Salt Lake City, Anthony Darnel McClanahan’s guilty plea was part of a plea bargain in which prosecutors agreed to remove a domestic violence designation and an enhanced penalty for the use of a dangerous weapon.

    Prosecutors also agreed to drop a child kidnapping case against him 30 days after his sentencing, according to Fox 13.

    McClanahan is expected to be sentenced on April 29. 

    McClanahan’s wife, Keri Colleen McClanahan, was found dead at the Park Regency Resort in Park City on Nov. 2, 2017. 

    “Nothing will ever bring her back,” Heather Gauf, Keri McClanahan's sister, 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.”

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    Police found Anthony McClanahan covered in blood and crawling on his stomach outside early in the morning of Nov. 2, according to charging documents. He lifted himself up just enough to flag down a police officer, and then dropped back down and began convulsing, his arms making a "snow angel motion," the officer at the scene told prosecutors. Click here to read more. 

    Originally from Bakersfield, California, McClanahan played four years with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in the mid-1990s after a collegiate football career at Washington State University. He was in training camp with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL in 1994 but never played in a game.

    McClanahan started 41 sports fitness boot camps in Bellingham in 2009 and hosted youth football camps in Whatcom County from 2012 to 2016, according to the Bellingham Herald

    Keri McClanahan, who went by KC, had been planning to leave her husband but wanted to help him get on his feet first, Gauf said in 2017.

    The couple had met when he was working as a personal trainer in Bellingham, and he pushed for a fast wedding, Gauf said.

    "It worried me a lot,'" she said, but "he kind of had us fooled."

    After the January 2017 wedding, the McClanahans moved to Arizona together and began traveling to volunteer areas that had been affected by hurricanes.

    But his jealousy began to emerge and, in September 2017, he got frustrated about a missed donation and punched his wife, Gauf said. He'd sometimes refer to the effects of head injuries he'd suffered during his football career, though Gauf doubts they were the root cause of the violence.

    After the punch, Keri McClanahan returned home to Washington, but her husband continued to contact her even as he left Arizona with his son.

    Anthony McClanahan ended up in Utah because he has family there and wanted his son to be an extra in a Disney TV production, Gauf said.

    Keri McClanahan eventually met him in Utah to help with his son, and stayed to help him get back on his feet after his arrest in October 2017, Gauf said.

    Information from The Associated Press is included in this report. 

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