Thu, Jul 09, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Lack of motive hampers probe of McNair murder

AP , NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

Tennessee’s state medical examiner said on Tuesday that investigators have been hesitant to conclude that Steve McNair’s girlfriend killed the NFL star and herself because she didn’t appear to have a motive, but also that murder-suicide is the most likely scenario.

After the couple was discovered shot to death on Saturday, police were quick to label McNair’s death a homicide. He had been shot twice in the head and twice in the chest, while 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi was dead from a single gunshot to the head. Under her body was a gun she had purchased less than two days before the killings.

Investigators were waiting on ballistics tests on the weapon before issuing a ruling on Kazemi’s death, which medical examiner Bruce Levy said could come in the next few days. Kazemi’s gun purchase, which was revealed on Monday, is a strong indication that she was responsible, he said.

“If we had known on Sunday about the gun I think we would have been very comfortable in ruling murder-suicide,” he said. “I’ll be very surprised now if they rule it isn’t.”

Levy said an apparent lack of motive by Kazemi has made investigators careful about exploring every possibility, including the unlikely scenario that a third party could have staged the scene. Their relationship lacked typical indicators of trouble — such as concerned family members or police reports and protection orders.

Kazemi’s family has said she was very happy.

“She just had it made, you know, [with] this guy taking care of everything,” Kazemi’s nephew Farzin Abdi said on Monday.

Levy said the 36-year-old McNair was shot in each temple and twice in the chest. Three of the shots were taken from a distance, but one of the shots to the temple came from just inches away.

The gun that killed Kazemi was in contact with her head when it discharged, he said.

Police spokesman Don Aaron said Monday McNair wasn’t with Kazemi when she bought the semiautomatic pistol that was found at the scene. Police have declined to release the caliber of the gun or the name of the person who sold it to her.

Aaron said the case may not be as neatly resolved as people would like.

“It may be we’ll never know exactly why this happened,” he said.

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