John Blanchard told his children he was "angry enough to snap someone's neck" hours before he allegedly choked their mother to death.
The couple's two children, ages 13 and 14, both testified Thursday in their father's murder trial that he repeatedly talked about killing someone on the day Patricia Ann Blanchard died.John Blanchard first shared his thoughts with his son Michael, who was 12 years old at the time.
"He said he was angry (because Patricia was dating another man). He said he was going crazy over it and that his heart was broken," Michael testified. "He said he could grab someone by the neck and kill them."
Later, the couple's daughter, Emery, also heard her father talk about grabbing someone by the neck.
"He said he was angry enough to snap someone's neck," she said on the stand.
Prosecutors allege John Blanchard sneaked into his ex-wife's home around midnight on September 19, 1995, crept up to her bedroom and choked her hard enough to snap a bone deep in her neck.
Emery Blanchard was probably standing outside the door of the room as her mother died. Neither she nor her brother made eye contact with their father during their testimony Thursday.
Michael Blanchard said he had spoken with his dad only once since he was arrestedlast fall.
John Blanchard, 52, faces one count of capital murder. A jury will decide his fate late next week. If convicted, he could receive the death penalty.
Blanchard admitted after his arrest that he killed Patricia. He said he had no regrets about it and, "there are probably 200 people in Park City who wonder why I didn't do it sooner," according to previous court testimony.
Both children, who showed little emotion during their testimony, said their family relationship was both tumultuous and loving. Michael was probably closer to his dad while Emery took to her mom.
The father and son picked guitars together, shared their thoughts around a quiet lake near a friend's home and shot hoops when they got the chance.
On the evening his mother was killed, Michael and his father played "Tequila Sunrise" on their guitars for a fellow music-lover over the phone.
But their father was acting strangely that night, Emery said.
Before her mother got home from a business meeting, Blanchard unlocked the doors and popped open several windows. Emery was uncomfortable with his behavior, given what he'd said earlier in the day, she testified.
"As soon as Dad left (before her mother got home), I checked the doors and windows and locked them again," she said.
Later that night, she helped her mother cut wooden dowels, which they crammed into every sliding door and window jam in the house. By then, Michael had fallen asleep in his bed.Comment on this story
Emery testified she couldn't sleep immediately. "I was kind of worried that day and I wanted to make sure everyone got tucked into bed all right."
"Why?" said prosecutor Terry Christiansen.
"Because Dad was acting a little creepy and my mom was worried," Emery responded.
Defense attorney Jerry Mooney said in opening arguments that his client doesn't deserve the death penalty because he was acting under extreme emotional duress at the time of the killing.
The trial is expected to continue through next Wednesday. Third District Judge Pat B. Brian is presiding.