Police: Mother Charged In Kids' Deaths Spoke Of Killing Them

Associated Press Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A Louisville woman charged in the deaths of her two children spoke of a plan to kill them the day before they were found dead in their home, a police detective testified Monday.

Gail Coontz, 37, has been charged in the murders of her 14-year-old son, Greg, and 10-year-old daughter, Nikki. Their bodies were found in their home last week.

Coontz had mentioned killing her children and herself to a friend, Louisville police Detective Keith Roberts said during a probable cause hearing in Jefferson District Court.

The friend contacted police with that story, Roberts said.

The friend "made the statement that if they threatened to take (Coontz's) kids away from her, (Coontz) would kill the kids and kill herself," Roberts testified.

Coontz has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and one count of terroristic threatening. She is being held in jail on a $500,000 bond.

Her attorney, Mike Lemke, declined to comment on whether he would base a defense on her mental state.

Coontz sat expressionless throughout the 30-minute hearing.

Jefferson District Judge Deborah J. Deweese sent the case to a grand jury.

Court documents show Coontz had sought bankruptcy protection twice since 2004, citing large credit card debt and little income. Both times, Coontz listed more than $30,000 in credit card debt, along with owing money on her home and van.

Roberts testified that police searched Coontz's home and found the bodies of her children in their bedrooms. Greg was shot three times and Nikki once, he said. Police found four shell casings in the home, he said.

Police also found the home was messy and littered with large amounts animal feces, Roberts said.

"Ms Coontz's room was rather neat, and the rest of the house was rather disheveled," he testified.

Coontz was arrested after she brandished a gun while speaking with a psychologist on the University of Louisville campus on March 27. Coontz had been a student there since 2006.

Roberts said Coontz showed up at the psychologist's office, but was told there wasn't time for a meeting. The psychologist then noticed that Coontz had a handgun, which prompted her to trip an alarm installed on her desk that alerted campus police, Roberts said. It was the psychologist who asked police to check on Coontz's children at the home, he testified.

Police and neighbors said Coontz had been widowed for several years.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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