VAN NUYS (CNS) – A former Los Angeles Unified elementary school teacher convicted of murdering his 43-year-old estranged wife lashed out in court against the victim’s family, allegedly threatening their lives.
Michael Rodney Kane, 48, is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole and was set to be sentenced on Monday, April 20, in a Van Nuys courtroom. His attorney asked that sentencing be postponed, and a new date of May 19 was set.
At the end of the hearing, Kane, handcuffed and in orange jail clothes, was caught on camera by CBS2 as he turned to address members of Michelle Kane’s family.
Calling out, “$10,000 for …, $20,000 for …,” and naming names, Kane threatened to put out “hits” on the family, Deputy District Attorney Frederick Mesropi alleged.
“I’ve never had anything like this happen,” the prosecutor said.
It was one of several outbursts by Kane during the course of his trial. The defendant was removed from the courtroom before the verdict was read March 30 because he yelled at the family, saying he had no remorse and bringing them to tears.
Kane’s wife had obtained a restraining order against her husband in the midst of a bitter divorce and taken refuge in a friend’s home in West Hills. Kane went to that house around 8 a.m. on June 15, 2013, and overpowered and wounded a friend who tried to bar the door. The defendant then chased his wife outside and stabbed her 41 times, Mesropi said.
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.
Michelle Kane had gone to a police station twice the day before she was killed and also 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.