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Man describes how he killed his wife

By ERIN MATHEWS Salina Journal

His wife disappeared in the night with a man she met online, Davin Sprague told investigators. But then they told him they had found his wife — buried in the floor of his metal shed.

“That’s when he told us what had really happened,” Investigator Jim Sweeney of the Saline County Sheriff’s Office testified Monday at Sprague’s preliminary hearing.

In a videotaped confession Sprague, 36, made Aug. 2, he gave investigators this account of how his wife, Kandi, died:

Sprague spoke to a man whom Kandi, 28, had been corresponding with online late July 23 and told him Kandi was a married mother of three. Later he went out to his shop to work on a car motor, and at about 1 a.m. July 24, Kandi came out to the shop angry about the phone call he had made to the St. Louis man.

Kandi began attempting to strangle him with her hands around his throat, and he reached behind himself and grabbed a metal pipe and struck her across the back of her head.

She fell to the floor with blood coming out of her mouth.

“She was in pain — I mean, she was going to die slowly before an ambulance would ever get there, and I could see that, and I just couldn’t let her,” Sweeney read from a transcript of Sprague’s interview with law enforcement.

That’s when he took a rope and pulled it tight around her neck “until the pain was gone,” Sweeney read.

First-degree murder

Saline County District Court Judge Daniel Hebert ordered Sprague to stand trial on a charge of first-degree murder. Sprague had previously received a mental health evaluation and on Sept. 7 was found competent to stand trial. His trial was set to begin Nov. 29.

Attorney Paul Hickman, who represents Sprague, entered a not guilty plea on behalf of his client at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing.

Hickman tried unsuccessfully to get the judge to delay his decision until the autopsy report is complete and the official cause of death is known. He said if Kandi Sprague was killed by the initial blow, it may not have been a premeditated act.

Dirt didn’t look right

Investigator Mike Rogers, with the Saline County Attorney’s Office, testified that he went to the Spragues’ rural Saline County residence on Aug. 1 and entered the metal shed, which appeared to serve as a shop and storage area. He was with sheriff’s deputies who had served a search warrant on the property.

Anna Christmas, Kandi’s mother, testified that deputies obtained the warrant after she had reported her daughter missing. She made the report after Davin Sprague called her and asked if she knew where Kandi was. She said Davin Sprague told her that Kandi had left with a St. Louis man she met online about five days before.

Rogers said that when he looked around the shed, he noticed some loose dirt near a door and small amounts of dust and dirt resting on top of carpet remnants and tools in that area.

“When I first saw the dirt, it struck me as something in the shed that was out of place,” Rogers said.

He said he assumed someone had filled a rat hole in that area, but he said the condition of the rest of the property did not indicate such attention to detail.

The next day, Rogers testified that he showed a Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent the dirt, as well as an area under a nearby carpet remnant he had discovered that appeared different than the rest of the hard-packed floor.

Tough work to bury her

“I finally just grabbed a shovel,” Rogers said.

In his first two attempts, the blade wouldn’t go into the ground very far, but on the third try it sank into the ground with little resistance, he said.

Rogers had discovered the place where Kandi Sprague was buried, and four officers took up shovels and other implements in 100-degree heat to bring her body above ground, he testified. He said Kandi Sprague’s body was buried about 2 1/2 feet below the floor, wrapped in a blanket.

Sweeney testified that Davin Sprague told him, “You’d never believe how hard that was” about digging Kandi’s grave. Sprague said it took about eight hours of alternating between an ax and a shovel to dig the hole, Sweeney said.

Sweeney said Sprague also confessed to officers that he had driven to Independence, Mo., in the days following to send texts from Kandi’s cell phone to her mother and brother. The texts said she couldn’t talk at that time but would explain everything later.

n Reporter Erin Mathews can be reached at 822-1415 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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