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Police say Hartman's wife told friends about shooting

Phil and Brynn Hartman  

In this story:

June 2, 1998
Web posted at: 11:38 p.m. EDT (0338 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Police said Tuesday that the wife of actor-comedian Phil Hartman went to the home of a longtime male friend after killing Hartman last Thursday and confessed to the shooting.

Hartman, 49, was shot to death last week in his suburban Encino home by Brynn Hartman, 40, who later committed suicide, police said. The actor died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head. His wife died of a single gunshot wound to the head, coroner's office spokesman Scott Carrier said.

Mrs. Hartman's friend, identified as Ron Douglas, told police he did not initially believe Mrs. Hartman, who he said appeared to be intoxicated. But after he found a revolver in her purse he took the gun from her and placed it in a plastic bag, and they drove to the Hartman home in separate cars.

A L S O :

Transcript of 911 call

After seeing Hartman's body, he went to another room to call 911, and Mrs. Hartman locked herself in the master bedroom with her dead husband.

"She said she had killed her husband and I didn't believe her," Douglas told a dispatcher during a 911 call to police about 6:30 a.m. last Thursday.

icon Los Angeles Police Cmdr. David Kalish describes the events surrounding the deaths of Phil and Brynn Hartman
Part 1
(392 K / 31 sec. audio)

Part 2
(392 K / 38 sec. audio)

The dispatcher asked Douglas where Hartman had been shot.

"I think around the head and the neck," Douglas said. "I just got here."

Hartman shot 'multiple times'

Ending five days of silence in the Hartman murder-suicide investigation, Cmdr. David Kalish released the 911 tape during an evening news conference and said: "Brynn Hartman shot Phil Hartman multiple times" while he was lying in bed.

No details were given about what reason Mrs. Hartman might have given Douglas for the shooting. Nor did police give any details about Mrs. Hartman's relationship with Douglas other than to describe him as her longtime friend.

Results of additional toxicology tests for drugs and alcohol for both Hartmans should be available by the end of next week, Carrier said.

Douglas made the 911 call to police about three hours after Mrs. Hartman first came to his house.

When police arrived, Douglas escorted the Hartmans' 9-year-old son, Sean, out of the Hartman home, and police carried out the Hartmans' 6-year-old daughter, Birgen Anika.

Kalish said it was at that point that Mrs. Hartman, still in the master bedroom, shot and killed herself with another handgun.

Kalish also said that Mrs. Hartman called another friend on a cell phone while driving from Douglas' house back to her home, and told that friend she had shot her husband.

Kalish said there was no evidence Hartman was having an extramarital affair or had plans to end the couple's marriage.

Hartmans' estate $1.23 million

Also Tuesday, wills filed in Superior Court showed the Hartmans left an estate estimated at $1.23 million to their two children.

The children will be raised by Mrs. Hartman's sister Katharine Wright and her husband, Mike, who publicist Stan Rosenfield said are the children's guardians. The Wrights, who have no children of their own, live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The wills specified that the Hartman children would each get a third of their inheritance when they reach age 25 or receive a bachelor's degree from a four-year accredited university. They will receive half of the remaining money when they turn 30 and the remainder when they turn 35.

The Hartmans directed in their wills that the first guardian who consents to take care of the children be given $50,000 from their estate, Rosenfield said.

The wills also specified cremation. Hartman asked that his ashes be scattered over Santa Catalina Island's Emerald Bay. Mrs. Hartman didn't specify what she wanted done with her ashes.

A court hearing on the wills, both signed March 11, 1996, was set for July 1.

Hartman won fame with his impersonations of President Clinton, Frank Sinatra and other celebrities on "Saturday Night Live," and later played a radio anchor on NBC's "NewsRadio." He also contributed voices to "The Simpsons" animated series and did several movies and commercials.

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