Kelley Cannon Unplugged

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In the Scene's exclusive hour-and-a-half interview with Kelley Cannon, the wife of slain attorney Jim Cannon, Kelley disclosed a litany of unsavory stories about her dead husband—not exactly a good public relations move for a woman whose husband was strangled and stuffed into a closet. Especially when Jim's friends and family have fingered Kelley as the prime suspect. Jim's longtime friend and divorce attorney John Hollins Jr. paints Jim as nothing less than a saint. Jim was the co-founder of Medical Reimbursements of America, a successful Franklin firm that collected delinquent hospital bills. But Kelley said Jim's “drinking had become so terrible, he couldn't even get up to go to work before 12 or 1.” When asked if she had any idea of who would've had motive to murder Jim, she provided a one-sentence answer: “Jim had a mantra, and his mantra was, 'If you want a friend, get a dog.' ” In all of her candid talk about her husband's alleged affairs, heavy drinking and addiction to prescription drugs—mostly sedatives and painkillers—Kelley came off much like a woman scorned. Tales of her husband often came in the form of lengthy rants (which seemed quite well-rehearsed). So it comes as no surprise that we couldn't pack them all into today's paper. One thing about Kelley did surprise us, however: The woman is pretty damn endearing. When she talks about her devotion to her children, she's entirely believable—sweet even. And when Kelley's attorney stopped by our offices yesterday afternoon, we were left with little question about how close Kelley actually was—and is—with her three children, who range in age from 1 to 9. Andrew Cate, who is representing Kelley in her custody battle, splayed a slew of family photos on the Scene's conference room table. The pictures depicted a smiling Kelley cuddling up to seemingly happy children. Among others, there were photos of the woman with her kids and a fluffy pink Easter bunny—even a poster board photo collage one of Kelley's older sons created, displaying photos of him and his mother along with hand-written descriptions of experiences he'd shared with her. When asked why she stayed with Jim, who she describes as nothing less as than a philandering, controlling, explosive man, Kelley offers one simple, if not cliché, explanation. She says she loved him with all her heart, and she stuck by his side for the sake of the kids. Here's what Kelley had to say about her home life with the kids and Jim, before he filed for divorce and acquired court orders to keep her away from the home: “I had been the primary caretaker. I gave up medical school because I didn't want my patients to come before my children. I was in medical school when I met him, and he was just about to go in for bankruptcy and had just gone through a divorce, had no real job. Really, I supported us for probably the first three or four years in terms of health insurance, and he went through that bankruptcy and cried on my shoulder. He wouldn't go to that meeting with Clayton McWherter, I basically had to kick him out of the door to that. He asked me for counsel throughout the development of that business. But after the affair, he even lied to me after the affair.” “You know, we never went out. I cooked supper every single night. We were a good family, except for his drinking.... So he was taking my pills [for my back injury], he was smoking pot and he was drinking—sneaking around me, drinking.” “I stopped looking into whether or not he was having affairs because it wouldn’t matter to me anymore. I just didn’t care. I just wanted to be a mother and wife—that’s it.”

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