While the manhunt to find Robert J. McCann was under way, the Brushton man called State Police headquarters to learn what charges he would face if he were caught.
The revelation came on Wednesday, the fifth day of his attempted-murder trial, in Franklin County Court.
McCann also told police in a statement that “something else took control over me” when he allegedly put his former girlfriend in a choke hold and cut off her air supply on Oct. 5, 2010.
“That’s not the real me,” he said during a rambling, 4Â½-hour audio statement to a State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigator that was played in court.
TRIED TO FLEE
McCann, 28, faces 11 counts in connection with the incident, when he allegedly lured the woman to a remote site in Westville, pulled a gun and struggled with her as she tried to flee.
He reportedly grabbed her and maneuvered her throat into the crook of his arm, where he applied, then released pressure, causing her to nearly black out.
The pair fought again at his apartment, where he again reportedly put the choke hold on her and, from there, he took her to Plattsburgh where they stayed overnight.
He released the woman the next day, and a two-day manhunt culminated in his arrest after he was found hiding in a crawl space in a Rooseveltown Road home.
GAVE FAKE NAME
McCann learned from cellphone calls that the police were looking for him on Oct. 6, and it was arranged by friends that he go to a house near the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation to hide.
While there on Oct. 7, McCann said, he called the Troop B headquarters in Ray Brook using another name and asked if there was a warrant out for his arrest.
“They said, ‘There was no warrant, but we want to talk to him,'” McCann said. “I called (his ex-girlfriend) to find out what I was being charged with, but she didn’t answer.”
He stayed put the rest of Thursday and said he woke up Oct. 8 and “figured the police would show up today. I knew they were coming.”
He was taken into custody and gave the lengthy interview without an attorney present.
McCann, a mixed martial-arts athlete who reportedly outweighed the woman by more than 100 pounds, was indicted for attempted murder, kidnapping, stalking, rape and assault against the now 24-year-old woman, who is not being named by the Press-Republican because of the sex-related counts involved.
State Police Senior BCI Investigator Joseph Tatro conducted the recorded interview along with Detective Sgt. Al Duquette of the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, who was also McCann’s mixed martial-arts instructor.
At first, McCann’s words came out at a rapid-fire pace for more than an hour, with few pauses and many expletives, as he jumped from topic to topic or explained what he remembered - which was contrary to what the woman had told police and testified to earlier in the trial.
He said his ex-girlfriend didn’t want medical help for her injuries, and it was she who suggested they go to Plattsburgh through back roads to his friend’s house because “she didn’t want her parents seeing me driving her car.”
McCann interrupted the questioning with his version of events, saying he thought he would only face assault charges until he started hearing how he was wanted for kidnapping, having a pistol and more.
“There is more to the story of whoever did what,” he said.
As the investigator prepared to take his statement formally, McCann said on the recording that he wanted to begin by stating, “I have a problem with steroids. I get angry at little things, things that normal people wouldn’t get angry at.
“I felt like I needed a competitive edge,” he said.
His responses on the recorded statement became more conversational and slower as Tatro steered him back to the events of Oct. 5.
McCann admitted he brought a BB gun to scare the woman, and it worked.
“She freaked out and tried to get out of the car,” he said.
He said he first grabbed her wrist then pulled her toward him in the front passenger seat until her feet were at steering-wheel level.
As she continued to struggle, he said, “I lost it. I snapped and lost it.”
He said he put the woman in choke hold that lasted 30 seconds to a minute.
The woman kept fighting and honked the horn with her foot as she kicked, trying to get free, McCann said, so he put on another move he’d learned in mixed-martial arts that stopped her and injured her hamstring muscle.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in that state of mind before in my life. It was as if something else was controlling me,” he said. “I stopped choking her and asked her if she was OK. Then reality hit.
“It was really weird. She was saying she had to look into my eyes, and I couldn’t help but love her.”
DEEP MARKS ON NECK
On the recording, Tatro asked how McCann could explain how 70 to 80 percent of the blood vessels in her eyes had been burst. He also said the choke hold had caught the zipper of her hoodie between his arm and her throat, which left deep marks on her neck.
“Her neck was somewhat small, so I didn’t know if I was cutting her air off or her arteries so I released pressure and reapplied it,” McCann said. “It was like somebody else was controlling me. I believe it was steroids controlling me.”
She had also cut her mouth and left a 50-cent-piece-sized stain of blood on his pants, which was later matched to her DNA.
The pair went to his apartment in Brushton so he could change clothes, and a neighbor saw them arrive.
The woman reportedly bolted from the vehicle, only to be caught by McCann, who allegedly shoved her into a woodshed and reapplied the same choke hold that had reportedly incapacitated her earlier.
“I think Robin (LePage) thought she was a lunatic,” McCann said of his neighbor. “I think he thought she was crazy.”
‘I NEED HELP’
He stashed the gun above ceiling tiles in his kitchen, and the pair left for Plattsburgh but had to stop for gas along the way, he said.
“I didn’t want her getting out and yelling to people and making a big deal, so I asked her, ‘Do you mind getting in the trunk?’ She did. She put herself in the trunk.”
He recounted the visit to a Plattsburgh friend’s apartment, the little sleep they got that night because the woman was worried about her injuries and that she might not wake up again if she fell asleep.
McCann said they went back to his vehicle the morning of Oct. 6, and he followed her into Malone to make sure she got there safely before he turned off Finney Boulevard for home.
When asked how he wanted to close his statement, McCann said, “I’m cold emotionally. I have a lot of aggression. I need help. This is not the real me. I wish that help would be provided for me.
“I’m really sorry for what I did. I believe the steroids I was taking controlled the outcome of these events.”