Dec. 7—The Athens man found dead Friday after a standoff with police in his ex-wife's Southwest Decatur house had threatened her in text messages and a note left on her car, according to a protection from abuse petition the woman filed in April.
Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn on Monday identified the man found after the standoff in the 3700 block of Neches Court Southwest as Richard Cannon McBay, 53. Chunn said the death was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound and McBay was pronounced dead at 2:44 p.m. Friday.
Decatur police received the initial phone call about a possible domestic disturbance at 8:15 a.m. Friday. Police on Monday said McBay broke into his ex-wife's home "and held her against her will before she was able to escape." McBay refused to leave the house despite hours of negotiations, police said.
The protection from abuse petition indicated McBay lived in a camper on Cox Road in Athens. The petition said the ex-wife called police in March "because ex-husband threatened to come to my house and my family's houses to get even."
The petition also said McBay made "numerous threats by text messages" and left a note on the ex-wife's car that said "you leave me no choice."
The ex-wife also wrote in the petition "I have called the police three different times in the last three to fourth months." She said her parents were fearful after being approached by McBay and did not not own a gun. "However, my ex-husband has many," the petition said.
Court records show the couple was divorced in May 2020 after being married in February 2019.
Morgan County Circuit Judge Stephen Brown temporarily granted the ex-wife's protection from abuse petition April 8 and required that McBay surrender his firearms to the Sheriff's Office, but on July 5 dismissed the petition "due to the plaintiff's failure to appear and prosecute."
The ex-wife also filed a petition for protection from abuse last year that was denied by Brown on Oct. 14, 2020, because "the allegations of verbal threats made by the defendant against the plaintiff would not constitute 'acts of abuse' as defined by law. ... However, the plaintiff may file a new petition setting out actual threats and the date of such threats or events."
Chunn said McBay's body was discovered in the master bedroom of the house in the gated Vestavia Court subdivision off Vestavia Drive, across the street from the north end of the Decatur Heritage Christian Academy campus.
Friday afternoon, smoke was seen coming from the southeast corner of the house. Two firetrucks were at the scene.
Decatur Fire & Rescue spokesman Bobby Peavler said a bedroom and the contents in the room received "pretty significant fire damage."
"Most of the house just received smoke damage," he said. "The cause of the fire is still pending."
— email@example.com or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.