A Sedgwick County jury deliberated for about an hour Thursday before convicting a man of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of his wife.
Guy Palmer, 56, testified earlier in the day that his wife “dropped a bomb on me” on Dec. 15 when she told him she was having an affair with another man.
“She wanted a man who would listen to her,” he testified. “She wanted a man who would talk to her. … She wanted a real man.”
Testimony at his trial showed that Palmer stabbed Debra Palmer, 61, six times in the basement of a home they shared at 6800 E. Farmview.
Although prosecutors contend that the killing was premeditated, defense lawyer Quentin Pittman said it was done during the heat of passion.
“Did you plan to kill your wife?” Pittman asked.
“No, sir,” Palmer replied.
“Did you have any intent to kill your wife?”
Palmer told the jury that he doesn’t remember the attack. He said his first conscious memory of the incident was coming to the realization that “my hands were all bloody and I was holding a knife.”
Palmer told the jury that he married Debra Palmer in the early 1990s and divorced a year later. The couple reunited in 2005 and lived as husband and wife, though they were never formally remarried, he said.
Palmer said he has not worked since 2005 and relied on Debra Palmer to buy him cigarettes and pop. He told the jury he was a recovering alcoholic who hasn’t had a drink since 1989.
Palmer said he stayed in the basement of the home and his wife had her own bedroom upstairs. It was at the end of 2012, he said, when he began suspecting that Debra Palmer was having an affair. He said he stabbed her after she admitted that she was.
After the stabbing, Palmer said, he drove to Arkansas to say goodbye to an aunt but returned to Wichita when he was unable to find her. He then drove to the Sedgwick County Jail and turned himself in.
Under cross-examination, he told prosecutor Kim Parker that he got the knife, which had an 8¾-inch blade, from on top of a microwave oven and pulled it out of a sheath before the attack.
“Was Debra afraid of you?” Parker asked at one point.
“I never gave her a reason to be afraid,” he said. “I haven’t been angry in years.”
Parker then called a rebuttal witness who had a different perspective.
Roger Mathews, Debra Palmer’s brother-in-law, described Guy Palmer as “a scary person” who often handled guns and knives.
“He was angry weeks before – not just that day,” Mathews said.
Shortly before her death, he said, Debra Palmer asked him to hold on to two guns she brought from her home – presumably, he said, because she was afraid Guy Palmer would use one of them on her.
“She said, ‘If anything ever happens to me, you’ll know that Guy did it,’ ” Mathews said.
Palmer will be sentenced by District Judge Joe Kisner on Dec. 5.