NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Seven months to the day former Titans' quarterback Steve McNair was murdered, police on Thursday released recorded interviews with the men who first discovered McNair's body and the body of his girlfriend, 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi.
Wayne Neely, McNair's longtime friend, was the first to enter McNair's Lea Avenue condominium in the early afternoon hours on July 4, 2009 and Robert Gaddy arrived not long after.
In his interview with police, Neely described what he did and what he saw.
He told officers that he “tapped on the door, nobody said nothing, unlocked the door, thought they were asleep, snuck in [and] saw him [lying] on the couch.”
“I thought he was asleep, I swear,” he added.
Neely said he saw one body on the couch and one on the floor, but later said he didn't think one of them was McNair.
“I can't believe I didn't recognize it was Steve,” Neely said. “I just can't believe it. I've seen him 15,000 times.”
Neely said he walked straight to the refrigerator to get a beer and then saw two shell casings on the floor.
Neely didn't call police, but rather McNair's phone first still not believing that it was his body that he had seen in the living room.
Neely also called McNair's business manager, Raymond White, and Robert Gaddy, who would eventually place the 911 call to police.
In Metro police's interview with Gaddy, he is heard telling detectives he was on another call when Neely called him.
“Soon as I got off the phone, I called him back, and he was like, 'have you talked to Steve?' I said, 'No, I haven't talked to Steve since the first part of the week',” he said referring to when he and McNair had opened their new restaurant, Gridiron 9, in north Nashville.
Gaddy said Neely sounded very nervous on the phone and “shook up, couldn't explain what was going on,” but he did say that someone had been shot and he wasn't going back into the condo.
“He claimed he didn't recognize who it was or anything. He's asking me about Steve, so I called Raymond [White], Steve's business manager,” Gaddy said.
Gaddy told police he drove to the condo and found Neely outside, near the dumpster. He also noticed two familiar vehicles.
“I see Steve's Navigator there and that gives me the worst feeling right there. The Escalade was parked in front of Steve's Navigator,” Gaddy said, referring to the black Escalade McNair had given to Kazemi.
Neely walked back into the condo with Gaddy, who recognized the body was McNair's.
He said he was on the couch covered in blood, a girl's body was on the floor, and there were two bullet holes in the wall.
“I didn't get close enough to him to see where he had been shot at,” Gaddy recalled. “I looked at him, and I saw the blood all over… and I called 911 immediately. He stopped me, but I continued to make the call.”
Gaddy said he left the condo after a couple of minutes.
When officers asked him who might have murdered McNair, he said, “At this point right now, y'all know more than I do. That's why I've been flustered, because I want answers too. I want to know what's going to happen. I can't imagine anyone wanting to hurt Steve.”
Gaddy told police he was aware McNair was dating Kazemi but he didn't know much about her.
He said, “I didn't approve of it or like it when he first started getting involved with her.”
Metro police would eventually classify their deaths as a murder-suicide, saying that Kazemi shot McNair four times before turning the gun on herself.
The case was closed in December, as convicted murderer Adrian Gilliam was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for selling the nine millimeter pistol Kazemi used in the shootings to her.
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