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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Michael Kane Murder Case

     In 2002, Michael Rodney Kane, an elementary school teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, married Michelle, a paralegal and notary public. That year the couple purchased a house in Canoga Park they couldn't afford. In September 2012, the parents of a one-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl got out from under their staggering debt through chapter 7 bankruptcy. Among other creditors they stiffed, the couple owed $166,000 to credit card companies. At the time, Michael taught at the Nestle Avenue Charter School in Tarzana.

     Michelle, after Michael's behavior became erratic and violent, obtained a restraining order and kicked him out of the house. But in June 2013, he returned to the Canoga Park home and smashed the windows to the front door and garage. Michelle reported the incident to personnel at the Los Angeles Police Department's Topanga Station. She informed the officer that Michael had been acting irrationally and had been taking drugs. She and the children, fearing what he might do, had moved in with a family she knew in West Hills. The couple who resided in this residential community of well-kept 1960s tract homes had two children of their own.

     On Saturday, June 15, 2013, at 7:50 in the morning, Michael Kane, armed with a knife, forced his way into the West Hills residence. As the man of the house fought the intruder, he told Michelle to get out of the dwelling and run for her life. The homeowner's wife, his children, and the Kane siblings, hid in the bathroom during the home invasion assault. The scuffle ended when Michael cut his adversary's hand.

     Following the assault of the West Hills resident, Michael ran out of the house in pursuit of his estranged wife. With neighbors looking on in horror, Michael, with Michelle begging him to stop, repeatedly stabbed her. With his wife lying dead in the street, Michael got into his 1999 Chrysler 300M and drove off.

     After a two-day manhunt, police officers, just after midnight on Monday, June 17, 2013, arrested the school teacher at a motel in the San Bernardino County town of Joshua Tree. Officers had to knock down the metal door to the motel room. Kane was taken to the Desert High Medical Center with several minor injuries where he was treated, and shortly thereafter, released. One of the arresting officers told reporters that the police didn't know if Kane had hurt himself in the fight with the West Hills home owner, or when he stabbed his wife to death. Officers booked him into the jail on suspicion of murder.

     A Los Angeles County prosecutor charged Michael Kane with first-degree murder, burglary with a person present, assault with a deadly weapon, and making criminal threats. On June 20, 2013, the suspect, accompanied by his defense attorney, made his first court appearance. Sitting in a wheelchair, Kane pleaded not guilty to murder and the other charges. He waived his right to a formal arraignment. The judge denied him bail.

     When reporters asked attorney Stewart Farber why his client was in a wheelchair, the lawyer said the reason would be made clear at a later time. In response to a question regarding how his client was holding up, Farber said, "Well obviously he's quite distraught, and that's all I can tell you. The facts as they occurred on that date, unfortunate as they were, when they're presented in court, will be substantially different than some of the things that were mentioned in the newspapers and said on television."

     On March 30, 2015, following a one-month trial, the jury, after deliberating just two hours, found Michael Kane guilty as charged. Before the foreman of the jury read the verdict, Kane disrupted the proceeding with an incoherent rant against his dead wife's family. Bailiffs removed him from the court room.

     The judge, on April 20, 2015, sentenced Kane to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 


  1. You make her sound as despicable a person as he was, which is so not the case. He was the main reason for all of their financial problems.

  2. I agree with you, He the one that that deserves to be dead. The world would be a better place and we wouldn't have to waste taxpayers dollars on a cold blooded murderer.

  3. Michelle was my high school friend and I hope he gets all that's coming to him and never a chance at daylight and life again. She was sweet, calm and just a beautiful person.

  4. Michelle was a dedicated, loving, genuine, caring, hard-working mother and friend. She did everything in her power to provide a good life for her children and protect them. The system failed her and now I will forever have a hole in my heart.

  5. Michael was a teacher in my school and taught many of my friends. He always gave me a weird vibe. He killed Michelle a year after I graduated elementary school. Now in high school, the experience really affects me, knowing that a teacher that I had been in the same school as, turned out to be a murderer

  6. I was a juror on this case, and I wanted to note that the facts of the attack as you present them are not quite right. On the morning of Saturday, June 15, 2013, Michael Kane, armed with a CONCEALED knife, forced his way past the man of the house into the West Hills residence. He moved straight to the kitchen and immediately began stabbing his wife Michelle (the homeowners could see that she was being ‘punched’ in the abdomen, but did not yet see the knife). The homeowner had gotten up from the front door and run to the kitchen to subdue Michael. He was able to do so briefly, and he told Michelle and his wife to get out of the house. The homeowner's children, and the Kane siblings, hid elsewhere in the house during the home invasion assault (although the victim and assailant’s young son was apparently in the kitchen during the initial assault and likely witnessed it). The scuffle between the two men ended when Michael cut his adversary's hand.

    Meanwhile Michelle and her friend ran for help. The friend knocked on the door across the street, and then turned around to notice that Michelle had been injured by the attack in the kitchen (Michelle said to her, “He got me”). As she realized this, she saw both Michael and her husband running from the house (Michael pursued by the homeowner). The homeowner tripped, and Michael made a beeline for Michelle. While Michelle begged for her life, Michael stabbed the mother of his children a grand total of 41 times before leaving her bleeding to death in a suburban residential intersection.

    This was a nightmare come true for anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship or knows someone in one. Michelle Kane did EVERYTHING RIGHT to try to extract herself from Michael Kane and to protect herself and her children from him. My takeaway was that if someone wants you dead badly enough, they will figure out how to make it happen. One year since the trial, and I am still pretty rattled by the whole thing. I hope he rots in jail, and I hope Michelle’s family and friends find some peace and healing. And I hope I never have jury duty again!

    1. Michael Kane, armed with a knife! Michael Kane, armed with a CONCEALED knife!
      Now that really changes the whole story!!! Not really.