MADISONVILLE-A State Circuit Court jury has found a former Coker Creek woman accused of killing her husband with an over-dose of prescription drugs, guilty of attempting to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Martha Ann McClancy was convicted in the death of her husband, Robert McClancy, who was found dead in their Coker Creek home in May of 2006. Investigators said it was a murder “staged” to look like a suicide. Mr. McClancy was found stretched out in a recliner with a bottle of prescription pills in one hand and a .38-revolver in the other.
When the jury’s verdict was read Friday afternoon, Mrs. McClancy shook and quietly said, “No, no, no.”
Mrs. McClancy, 66, now faces from 15 to 60 years in prison on each count. She will be sentenced in June of next year.
Charles Kaczmarczyk, 61, whom she later married, has already pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Robert McClancy.
Martha Ann McClancy, first gained notoriety three years ago when she and Kaczmarczyk were arrested in Knoxville and charged in a scheme to bilk the U.S. government out of more than a half million dollars in government benefits. Before his arrest, Kaczmarczyk spent years claiming to be a decorated combat war veteran. He lectured to college ROTC classes and various veterans organizations about his supposed military combat experience. His scheme was uncovered by veterans who later discovered that his stories were false.
Mrs. McClancy was already in prison on the fraud-related charges when she was indicted two years ago by a Monroe County Grand Jury, charging her with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with the death of her husband.
During the trial in Monroe County, defense attorney Matthew Rogers maintained that Mrs. McClancy was “conned and manipulated” by Kaczmarczyk, the man who has admitted he played a role in the death of her husband. Rogers argued that Mrs. McClancy was just a “victim” of Kaczmacrzyk and not a murderer.
Rogers described Kaczmarczyk as a “low-life and con-man” who even convinced Mrs. McClancy to marry him just five months after the mysterious death of her husband.
“My client has been conned,” said Rogers. “My client is a victim, just as the government was,” he added, referring to the fact that Kaczmarczyk is now serving time in prison on fraud charges involving conspiracy to steal public money from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration.
Federal agents say Kaczmarczyk admitted that he and Mrs. McClancy conspired to kill Mr. McClancy with an overdose of prescription medications and then staged the scene to look like a suicide. The defense argued that she had nothing to do with it.
“She tried to save Bob,” said Rogers, adding that Mrs. McClancy had even urged doctors at the VA hospital to keep her husband hospitalized for his own well-being.
Mrs. Clancy, took the stand Wednesday in her own defense and vehemently denied any wrong-doing, saying, “Bob was the love of my life.”
She was the only witness called by the defense. Prosecutors called more than a dozen witnesses including Kaczmarczyk, whose testimony portrayed Mrs. McClancy as a ruthless woman who poisoned her husband with a lethal dose of his own medications.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph McCoin, in opening statements by the prosecution, said Mrs. McClancy and Kaczmarczyk both played a role in her husband’s death. Speaking about Mrs. McClancy and Kaczmacrzyk, he said, “They became romantically involved and executed the scheme to murder in order to benefit from the death of Bob. Without her, there would never have been a murder,” the prosecutor said.
Mrs. McClancy and Kaczmarczyk met for the first time when her husband brought Kaczmarczyk home with him from a trip to a VA clinic in Nashville. The two had become close friends during a six-week program designed to help deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Kaczmarczyk’s visits to the couple’s home in Monroe County became more frequent and Mrs. McClancy said her friendship with him grew.
Under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Cindy Schemel, Kaczmarczyk admitted that he and Mrs. McClancy had become romantically involved in the month prior to Robert McClancey’s death in May of 2006.
Kaczmacrzyk testified that on several occasions when he was visiting the McClancy home, he observed Mrs. McClancy putting a ground-up substance which she called “magic dust” in her husband’s food. “I assumed it was medication,” said Kaczmarczyk. “It was obvious the following day he was in an altered state.”
Questioned about the “magic dust” by prosecutors, Mrs. McClancy called the accusation “an absolute out and out lie,” adding I didn’t want him dead and I wish he was still around today.”
Kaczmarczyk, dressed in prison garb and bound by leg and hand shackles, further testified that Mrs. McClancy told him that if he was to find her husband dead, to “Keep it simple.” He said he took the comment to mean that the death should look like a suicide so he “staged” the scene accordingly.
Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic testified that autopsy results on McClancy revealed two anti-psychotic drugs in his body. Although both were drugs prescribed for McClancy by VA doctors for (PTSD), the medical examiner said McClancey’s toxicology reports revealed four times the “therapeutic range” of one drug and 20 times the level of the other.
She added that the two drugs taken together in that concentration, “could definitely be deadly.” When asked by prosecutors if the drugs could be administered in food, she replied “Certainly.”
According to investigators, McClancy was found dead in a recliner in the couples’s home on Unicoi Lakes Road after Kaczmacrzyk called 911 to report that he thought McClancy was dead.
Kaczmarczyk testified that the day before McClancy died, Mrs. McClancy discussed plans for him to find the body while she was at work. Kaczmarczyk said he then assumed that Robert’s death was “imminent.”
In court, former Monroe County Officer Christopher Day who was one of the first officials on the scene after the 911 call, testified that on arrival at the McClancy home, he was met outside by Kaczmacrzyk. He said he was told that Mrs. McClancy was still at work. Day testified that upon entering the house he found Bob McClancy dead in the recliner. “He had a pistol in his right hand and pills in his left hand,” said Day adding that he found more pills scattered on the floor and on the kitchen counter.
Travis Jones, a detective with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office testified that in addition to the gun and pills, he found a number of documents on the kitchen counter, including a “Do Not Resuscitate” order naming Bob McClancy as the subject. He said the revolver had not been fired.
Jones showed pictures he had taken of Mr. McClancy holding the .38-calibre pistol and the pills. In the courtroom, Mrs. McClancy faced away from the defense table as the photos of her deceased husband were shown on an over-head projector.
In court, Kaczmacrzyk admitted putting the pills and revolver in Mr. McClancey’s hands. Jones said that during questioning Kaczmarczyk later admitted to him that he had “staged the scene to look like a suicide” because if the death was ruled a suicide, Mrs. McClancy would get more money from the VA. Kaczmacrzyk also testified that on several occasions, Mrs. McClancy said to him that if her husband “went away,” they could be together more. Kaczmarczyk said he took the comment to mean that she wanted her husband dead.
For his involvement in the murder, Kaczmarczyk was initially charged with first-degree murder. The charge was later dismissed but he received a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder.
Mrs. MClancy told jurors that her husband Robert had suffered for many years from PTSD and often confused the dosages of the medicines he took for it. “The third over-dose took his life,” she said. While she testified that her husband would not let her help him with his medications, prosecutors presented records from the VA showing that she had told them she was regulating his intake of the medications.
Referring to the over-doses, prosecutors questioned Mrs. McClancy as to why she and Mr. Kaczmacrzyk spent three hours on the road taking her husband to Johnson City during one of those over-doses instead of taking him to a closer emergency facility.
“We had a very good marriage,” she told jurors. “We had our ups and downs like everyone else.” She said the marriage hit “difficult times” as her husband’s PTSD worsened.
Kaczmacrzyk married Mrs. McClancy in Las Vegas five months after Robert McClancy’s death and testified that soon after, they began traveling the country in their Mercedes and their new motor home. He said they flew to Panama and Mexico and took several cruises. Mrs. McClancy later testified that it was understood that the marriage was “only a business deal” that would provide her with health insurance through Kaczmarczyk’s VA policy. Kaczmarczyk said they traveled off and on for almost a year and gave his new bride the nick-name “Sunshine.” She, in turn, called him “Studly.”
Kaczmarczyk said that after his marriage to Mrs. McClancy, he remembered her saying, “If anybody ever finds out what really happened to Bob, I’ll never see the light of day again.” They later were divorced while Kaczmarczyk was in prison.
In closing arguments in the four-day trial, prosecutor MCoin told the jury that both Kaczmarczyk and Martha Ann McClancy were “Two bad stars that crossed in the night who met and created something straight out of hell.” He added that Kaczmacrzyk had pled guilty to his role in assisting Mrs. McClancy in killing her husband, further implicating her in the murder.
McCoin added, “This woman has no conscience at all. She killed him as sure as we are here today.”
Defense attorney Rogers repeated his initial argument that Mrs. McClancy was taken in with Kaczmarczyk’s “cons and hustles” and that her troubles began when she “bought into his lies.”
Prosecuter Schemel’s closing comment was that Mrs. McClancy “wants you to believe she was the victim but what she really wanted to do was to be foot-loose and fancy-free.”