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Deadly Dispute Caught on 911 Tape

January 6, 1998

CHAPLIN, Conn. (AP) _ A woman dropped the phone during a 911 call, leaving the line open and allowing police to record her death.

``Police were able to hear the killing occur,″ prosecutor Mark Solak said.

David Messenger, 46, was ordered held on $900,000 bond Monday on a charge that he killed his wife, Heather, 42, during a domestic dispute early Saturday.

Messenger was standing in his doorway, next to his 5-year-old son, when a pair of state troopers appeared on the front steps.

``She’s dead. I killed her in self-defense,″ Messenger told them, according to a police report.

Mrs. Messenger was found lying face down in a pool of blood in her upstairs bedroom. A 4-by-4 plank was in the hallway, covered with blood and strands of hair.

Solak said the couple started to fight, and Messenger flung his wife more than 10 feet off the back porch. She then ran upstairs, barricaded herself in her bedroom with her son and dialed 911. As the bedroom door burst open, she dropped the phone, Solak said.

An autopsy showed Mrs. Messenger died from blunt trauma to the head. Solak said she was killed with the 4-by-4. Messenger told police he used a fire poker.

``If I had not killed her first, she would have killed me,″ police quoted him as saying.

Messenger said his wife tried to plant marijuana on him to get him in trouble and that she had ``been sneaking around and she has been lying to me,″ the report said.

The boy was placed in the custody of the state children’s services.

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