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LAUSD teacher accused in West Hills murder pleads not guilty

June 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Los Angeles Unified School District elementary school teacher suspected of stabbing his estranged wife to death pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday. He appeared for his arraignment in a wheelchair.

Michael Kane, 46, was scheduled to be arraigned in the morning, but his court appearance was pushed back to 1:30 p.m. Kane is charged with first-degree murder for the fatal stabbing of his estranged wife, Michelle Kane.

"Well obviously he's quite distraught, and that's about all I can tell you," said Stuart Faber, Kane's attorney, after the arraignment. "I can't really discuss the content of anything we've discussed at this time.

"The facts as they occurred on that date, unfortunate as they were, when they're presented, the court will be substantially different than some of the things that were mentioned in the newspapers and said on television."

Faber was asked why Kane was in a wheelchair Wednesday.

"That'll all be evident when this case is presented to court as to why he's in a wheelchair," said Faber.

Kane was held without bail Wednesday.

Authorities tracked down Michael Kane Monday morning at a motel in the Joshua Tree area. His wife was found dead in West Hills on Saturday. The 43-year-old was found stabbed to death on the street.

Just one day prior, she had gone to the authorities and complained that her husband had violated a temporary restraining order placed against him. Police say Michael Kane allegedly vandalized the former couple's house, prompting Michelle to seek safety at her friend's residence with her children.

Saturday morning, residents of the 7100 block of Deveron Ridge Road said the suspect showed up and threatened to kill his wife. A friend confronted him while Michelle Kane ran down the street to get away. Police say the suspect caught up to her and stabbed her to death on the street. A man was injured trying to assist Michelle.

Police say Michael Kane was injured when he was taken into custody with cuts and puncture wounds on his hands. He was treated at an area hospital.

The couple had been in the middle of a very messy divorce. They had two children, a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. Police say the children are in the care of their grandparents.

Michael Kane has worked as a teacher since 2008 at Nestle Avenue Elementary School in Tarzana. He has been credentialed in California since 1998 and began his career as a substitute teacher.

In addition to first-degree murder, Michael Kane is also charged wth one count of first-degree burglary with a person present, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of making criminal threats. At the Wednesday arraignment, prosecutors asked that he be held without bail. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.


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