Police Release Text Messages Between Ex-NFL Quarterback McNair, Killer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Text messages between a woman and former NFL quarterback Steve McNair made in the hours before police say she shot him to death and turned the gun on herself support authorities' contention that she was spiraling out of control.
Nashville police released the 50 text messages Monday night as part of a case summary and detailed the exchanges between the two hours before the July 4 murder-suicide.
Sahel Kazemi texted McNair on July 3 to say she was so stressed she might have a breakdown and asked for $2,000 to pay bills. One text said she might need to go to a hospital because she could hardly breathe.
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Police say texts show McNair had someone transfer the money. The texts also show Kazemi meeting McNair at the Nashville condominium where he was shot. He asked her to leave the front door open for him.
Spokesman Don Aaron said he has been working to summarize the case for weeks and denied it was a response to a two-part report on CBS' "The Early Show" questioning the original investigation.
"If anyone has information that needs to come to the attention of the police department, we'll be happy to receive it as part of this investigation," Aaron told The Associated Press. "But at this juncture, there has been nothing uncovered that suggests this is not a murder-suicide."
The CBS report Monday interviewed friends portraying Kazemi as happy and showed that she had approximately $2,500 in her bank account at the time of her death.
Kazemi's texts to McNair talk of her showing furniture she planned to sell to some people and how she was at a store "trying to fix" her phone. She wanted to pay bills before going to work. When she said she could hardly breathe, McNair asked if she wanted him to come over. She said she would take a nap.
McNair texted her that afternoon, saying he had someone transfer the money.
Kazemi later texted McNair three times asking to be with him that night. He said he was having trouble getting his sons to sleep. But at that time, McNair was seen at a restaurant with friends. Kazemi texted she was going to his condo. He texted back at 12:38 a.m. that he was on his way and asked her to open the front door at 12:52 a.m. Kazemi told him at 1:14 a.m. it was open.
The last text was at 2:23 with Kazemi saying, "I am going to the store." But police say the message received by McNair's phone seemed oddly placed in the stream of messages and out of synch. A T-Mobile specialist told police it could be a service or technical problem that caused a delay in the delivery of the message.
The summary also details how police checked video footage from businesses in the area and found a law firm camera caught the backside of the condo where their bodies were found later July 4. The footage did not show any suspicious activity or departure in the early hours of that morning.
Police also list the shift manager at the restaurant where Kazemi worked who told officers something seemed to be bothering Kazemi on July 3. Sonya New said she asked Kazemi if everything was all right when the server told her of her DUI arrest on July 2. The manager also knew of Kazemi's roommate moving and asked about McNair's divorce.
"And she [Kazemi] just rolled her eyes. New said at the end of the conversation, Kazemi said, "My life is just [awful] and I should end it."
Business was slow that night when Kazemi asked if she could leave early. She clocked out at 10:07 p.m.
The summary also includes new information from the woman Kazemi followed from McNair's condo, suspicious that he was involved with someone else.
Police also say Leah Ignagni confirmed she was dating McNair and recalled seeing a woman in a black Cadillac Escalade parked outside his condo two or three weeks before his murder. Ignagni saw the woman follow her and later saw the Escalade circling her block or parked outside her apartment a week or two later. A 2007 black Escalade was co-registered both to Kazemi and McNair.
Ignagni told police McNair visited her around 4 a.m. on July 2 — a couple hours after Kazemi's arrest — to tell her "Jenni" had been arrested for DUI. McNair then spent the night of July 2 at Ignagni's apartment but left early July 3.
The report also includes details from the crime scene that blood stains showed Kazemi's upper body was in McNair's lap before sliding to the floor. Police also found the gun under Kazemi's head with an impression in the carpet the summary said indicates neither the gun nor Kazemi's body was moved before officers arrived.