The death of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair has Nashville and the entire sports world in a state of disbelief.
In the days since his body and that of girlfriend Sahel Kazemi were discovered in a downtown condominium, the public has heard the names of Wayne Neeley, Robert Gaddy, Keith Norfleet, and even Jett Jackson associated with the final hours of Nashville’s most famous athlete.
From the moment the news broke, the public has been wondering if what occurred at the downtown condominium was a murder/suicide or a double homicide. Despite a gun being found underneath the body of Kazemi, a semiautomatic that she had purchased last Thursday evening, Neeley, Gaddy, Norfleet and Jackson keep seeing their names surface in news reports.
Questions have arisen over who they are. The public has been questioning their actions leading up to or just after the bodies of McNair and Kazemi were discovered.
Why didn't Neeley call police immediately?
Is Norfleet a jilted ex-boyfriend?
Why were strange messages posted on the Internet that forecasted the deaths just days before the bodies were discovered?
Those questions have had law enforcement and media scratching their heads, and so far no clear answers have been provided to the public. As frustrating as it is, some questions may never be answered despite best efforts.
While awaiting those answers, here is a basic rundown on what NashvillePost.com and The City Paper has ascertained about the individuals forever linked to the deaths of McNair and Kazemi.
Neely is a longtime employee of Nashville Sporting Goods, one of the largest suppliers of athletic equipment and team uniforms to youth leagues in the region. He and McNair rented the condo together at Second Avenue South and Lea Avenue for at least the last two years from Metro Trustee Charlie Cardwell, and it was Neeley who told police he first found the bodies of McNair and Kazemi on July 4.
According to friends, Neeley first met McNair when a call came in to Nashville Sporting Goods approximately a decade ago and a large order was placed to outfit an entire youth athletic league.
When Neeley asked how the order would be paid for he was told ‘cash,’ which piqued Neeley's interest as to who the caller was. A short time later McNair came in and paid for the items and struck up a conversation with Neeley.
By all accounts, the two became fast friends. Those who know Neeley, who is in his “late to mid 50s,” say that he is "fascinated" by famous athletes and was more than a little star struck. When asked to describe Neeley's character, sources said that he is an "incredibly loyal" person.
Asked about the reason Neeley would call someone other than police upon discovering McNair and Kazemi's body, sources said that they believe he panicked.
There has been speculation that perhaps Neeley removed items from the condo, thus delaying notification of the police. When questioned if he would have spent time removing illegal substances from the condo, Neeley's friends said they "don't think he would do that."
At a briefing by Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron on Monday, Aaron addressed the topic and stated, “We have no evidence to suggest the bodies were moved. I wouldn’t want to discuss [whether anything else was moved] at this point.”
Neeley has been unavailable to media since the bodies were discovered.
Upon discovering the bodies, Neeley called Gaddy, McNair's former Alcorn State teammate. Among McNair's circle of friends he was known as "Big Daddy Gaddy."
After playing at Alcorn State, Gaddy was a 330-pound lineman for the now defunct Nashville Kats Arena Football team. More recently he has worked as a nightclub owner and was involved with McNair's start up restaurant, Gridiron9, and is the founder of the Red Carpet Bar & Lounge.
Gaddy is perhaps best known to Nashville for an incident involving former Titans player Adam "Pacman" Jones on July 12, 2005.
In an incident that became the first in a long list of troubles for Jones as a professional athlete, Gaddy said that Jones assaulted him at the nightclub called Club 615, located near the Titans stadium. As a result of the conflict, Jones was arrested on two counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of felony vandalism.
The dispute began to raise further doubts in the community about Jones's character. Due to Gaddy's relationship with the popular McNair, many in the city did not question the veracity of Gaddy's charges.
While that incident has long since been resolved, until calling the police and informing them of his friends death Gaddy had done nothing that brought him into the public eye. As he was one of McNair's closest friends, they were often seen around town together at various clubs. Some sources said that Gaddy was an extra level of protection for McNair in case any altercations occurred while out on the town. That is not to say they would be looking for trouble, but more of a testament to the fact that at times, bold drunks feel a need to become issues at nightclubs.
Keith Norflett and ‘Jett Jackson’
Perhaps more intriguing than Neeley and Gaddy's involvement in the case are two individuals about whom little is known, ‘Jett Jackson’ and Norfleet, who has told police he is Kazemi’s ex-boyfriend.
On July 2, approximately a day and a half before the murders, a person posting under the name of ‘Jett Jackson’ of Antioch signed into their home page on the social networking Web site MySpace.com.
While that account has been deleted, a message was posted by either Jackson or someone with access to his account that stated, “F*** Steve McNair and he will be nobody in ‘09?” and “R.I.P. Sahel Kazemi.”
The person identified as Jackson is apparently friends with Norfleet, who police have said little regarding his role.
“As far as Mr. Norfleet is concerned, we had to interview him based on his... prior relationship with Ms. Kazemi,” Aaron said Monday. “Obviously he had certain thoughts about her relationship with Steve McNair. We needed to find out what he knew, what she may have told him in the past as we tried to put the pieces together. As far as the word ‘suspect’ is concerned, we really haven’t used the word suspect since the weekend.”
As for the Internet postings, Aaron stated, “the police department is aware of them. We are talking to certain individuals here in this community about them. We are also in contact with some of those Internet companies to ascertain exactly what was posted when, and if we can learn by who. That is not a process that can be done instantaneously and we’re [attempting] to answer those questions.”
Norfleet attended Orange Park High, located outside of Jacksonville, Fla., with Kazemi. He reportedly moved from the Jacksonville area to Nashville with Kazemi not long ago.
On the day that McNair and Kazemi's bodies were discovered, Norfleet admitted that he had been by the condo that very day and said that he had been looking for her.
According to posted Web profiles, Norfleet lives in the Antioch area and is an aspiring rapper who goes by the name KaNe.
He has a personal Web page on SoundClick.com where he refers to himself as “antiochs finest,” and has posted 31 rap mixes, some of which appear to refer to Norfleet and Kazemi’s relationship.
One of those rap mixes has content that seems to raise even more questions about Norfleet.
In a rap based on Eminem's "Benzino Dis," using lyrics rewritten by Norfleet (retitled “Closed Casket”) and posted on Feb. 2 — after McNair and Kazemi had started dating — the aspiring rapper lets loose with some rhymes that are chilling to say the least. A partial transcript of the song is below and here is a link to hear the song in its entirety. (Some of the lyrics have explicit content.)
Hear the entire track, here.
"I don’t wanna be like this
I don’t really wanna hurt no feelings
But I’m only being real when I say
Nobody wanna see an old man collapse
And old men have heart attacks
I don’t wanna be responsible for that
So let the s**t go and walk away
You can still have a little bit of dignity"
“I would never claim to be no
Benjamin Tebow, an 83-Year old fake Pacino
So how could he run his mouth about me
Knowing nothing about me
I love it when a dumbass doubts me
Until I pull the pistol out proudly
Put the clip in his mouth
Til this motherf***er shouts, ‘please don’t kill’
Have you sippin through a straw for the next 8 months
That’s if you even make it through it alive you dumb f**k
Try to stunt and front and fronting in front of somebody else
Til you're surrounded by 20 people With nobody’s help
IF you try to go incredible hulk it won’t work
Put so many holes in you your nerves won’t even jerk
Lurking in the shadows thinking and scheming of work
Got a little cocky so you decided to flirt
Now you’re flirting with death"
The final verse in the song set to Eminem's "Nail in the Coffin" instrumental track is as follows;
"If you ever do it again b***h I’m not rapping
I’m getting a clip and clapping and I’m not laughing
They’re wrapping you up for your little trip to the morgue
While I’m preparing for my trip to the shore,
Don’t ignore me, I’m not lying, I couldn’t be more honest
If you ever do it again, you’ll die, I promise.”
The discovery of the song by NashvillePost.com and The City Paper staff today shows eerie connections to the case. Metro Police have stated on more than one occasion that Norfleet is not a suspect.
UPDATED 4:20PM July 7th: Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron stated late today to NashvillePost.com that the person identified as "Jett Jackson" has come forward and has spoken to police.
Questions about Jackson arose from a posting made on his MySpace.com page that seemed to indicate prior knowledge of harm that would fall upon Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi.
Aaron said that Jackson has been interviewed and the comments posted on the internet were done so after the deaths had occurred. According to Aaron, Jackson had made the comments from a mobile hand held device that did not properly register the time of his last log in to MySpace.com