LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A former Los Angeles Unified elementary school teacher was convicted of murdering his 43-year-old estranged wife outside a West Hills home where she had taken refuge after obtaining a restraining order against him.
Jurors found Michael Rodney Kane, 48, guilty of first-degree murder, making criminal threats and violating a stay-away order. He is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole, with sentencing set for April 20.
Kane went to the West Hills home around 8 a.m. on June 15, 2013, and overpowered and wounded a friend who tried to bar the door to the house. The
defendant then chased his wife outside and stabbed her 41 times. The couple’s two children were inside the house at the time.
Kane was arrested two days later, shortly after his abandoned vehicle was spotted by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies in the Joshua Tree area. He was found during a search of area motels.
The estranged couple were in the midst of a bitter divorce. Michelle Kane had gone to a police station twice the day before she was killed and made a follow-up call, telling officers her estranged husband was violating a restraining order and had vandalized the home they once shared in Canoga Park.
Her divorce attorney said at the time of her death that she had taken “all necessary precautions,” fearing “an imminent threat to her life and the lives of her children.”
During the defendant’s preliminary hearing, a police detective testified that Kane had left a chilling voicemail message for his wife.
Paraphrasing, the detective said the message warned, “The beast is hungry. I need to feed the beast. I made my peace with God. Today may be your day. It may be a week from now. Basically, your time is coming.”
Kane started as a substitute teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1997, followed by three permanent teaching assignments, the last of which was at Nestle Avenue Charter Elementary in Tarzana.