DADE CITY — After more than three hours inside a cramped, gray interview room with two detectives grilling him, Michael McAdams began to crack.
At first he said he had no idea where his wife, Lynda, was, and he was as eager as anyone to get to the bottom of her disappearance. He talked about how much he loved her despite the turbulence in their marriage.
He talked about a future with her, even though authorities say he had shot and killed her a few days earlier and buried her, alongside her lover, in some woods in Spring Hill.
"I think she's alive, I really do," McAdams told Pasco Detective Zak Arey that day in October 2009.
But Arey said he had evidence — blood, DNA — and the best thing for McAdams would just be to come clean.
So McAdams began his confession: "It was around 10 o'clock …"
Now the 49-year-old father of two grown daughters is on trial this week, charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Authorities say he found Lynda, who was seeking a divorce after 24 years of marriage, in their Darby home with her boyfriend, 37-year-old William Ryan Andrews. There was a fight and he shot them both. He then drove the bodies to a place they might never be found, weighted them down and buried them.
McAdams faces life in prison if convicted. His attorneys don't deny he shot the two people but are arguing for a manslaughter conviction.
On Wednesday, they elicited testimony about an attorney, hired by McAdams' parents, who showed up at the office where he was being interviewed. Detectives didn't allow him to see McAdams, who went on to confess to the crimes.
Jennifer Christensen, the second Pasco detective in the interview, said she determined that an attorney could not invoke another person's right to have a lawyer present during questioning.
"You made a conscious decision to not let my client have the ability to have a lawyer present?" Tom Hanlon, one of McAdam's attorneys, asked.
"That is correct," Christensen said.
"You didn't tell him there was a lawyer out there to see him?" Hanlon asked.
"That's correct," she said.
"He had no way to know?" Hanlon asked.
"That's correct," she said.
Defense attorneys sought to have McAdams' entire confession excluded from the trial on this basis, but Circuit Judge Susan Gardner previously decided it was admissible because McAdams was not in custody when he made the statements.
"He could have walked out," Christensen said.
He didn't, though. He went on to describe how Andrews berated and insulted him that night, and how he snapped. McAdams said he started to leave but then retrieved a gun hidden near the front door and walked back into the house.
He shot Andrews first, he said. Lynda McAdams, 46, slapped him. Screaming, she started to call 911. She told McAdams he was going to hell.
"I just raised the gun up and I shot her in the face," he said.
The trial continues today.
Molly Moorhead can be firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at mmoorheadtimes.