Paragraphs 8 & 9 read: "At another point, Chavis allegedly asked an officer why he was being arrested. When told it was 'for an assault,' Chavis replied, 'This is so much bigger than you'll ever know'."
"Chavis told detectives he had the 'shakes' from not taking medication for anxiety and depression."
Documents show exchanges between police and man accused of kidnapping wife
By ROBERT GAVIN Staff writer
Updated 08:50 a.m., Wednesday, April 27, 2011
ALBANY -- Philemon Chavis, the man who allegedly beat and choked his wife in their downtown Albany home last month, blamed his spouse for the near-deadly attack, telling a police officer, "She attacked me."
Documents obtained by the Times Union revealed the series of recorded exchanges between police and Chavis -- including one in which he allegedly refused to identify himself.
"I can't tell you," Chavis told one officer. "I do secret work. I work with a bunch of different agencies."
At the time, Chavis was a public works investigator for the state Department of Labor. He has since resigned.
Chavis is accused of slamming his wife's head into concrete, punching her and choking her to unconsciousness inside 22 Garden Alley on March 13. Police say Chavis doused her with bleach, abducted her, tied her up in a luxury car and forced her to try to extract $100,000 from her family in ransom under threat of death.
Chavis, 44, spoke with an Albany police officer while in a cell block at the police department's South Station. The cop told Chavis he recognized him from frequently eating at a downtown pizzeria.
"Yea(h), I remember you," Chavis told the officer. "I feel bad and I'm embarrassed. She started with me when I came home, in the bathroom the size of this cell. She's the one who threw bleach on me. Look at my face; you guys didn't do this to me, she did. She attacked me."
At another point, Chavis allegedly asked an officer why he was being arrested. When told it was "for an assault," Chavis replied, "This is so much bigger than you'll ever know."
Chavis told detectives he had the "shakes" from not taking medication for anxiety and depression.
He explained that he returned home at 7 a.m. after a night out at the Pearl Street Pub in downtown Albany. He told police he believed he was hanging out with three men he met at the bar he believed were bouncers.
At one point during police interviews, court papers show, Chavis asked, "Can you do me a favor and keep an eye out for me while we are here?"
When asked why, he replied, "Because some people don't like me and I don't know if they will see me here." He added in response to another question, "Yes, there are some bad people who don't like me."
Karen Chavis, 46, his wife of 25 years, was released from Albany Medical Center Hospital after suffering bleeding on the brain, two broken ribs, a collapsed lung, cracked teeth and a number of other injuries.
Chavis, already charged with kidnapping and felony assault, was arraigned Monday on a new indictment charging attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, coercion and strangulation. He faces at least 25 years in prison if convicted.
Court papers allege that during the attack, Karen Chavis frantically called her brother for the ransom money at her husband's request. But when the brother asked her if someone had forced her to make the call, she answered, "Uh-huh." The family went to police, who arrived at Garden Alley.
Chavis, who allowed police to look in his home, said into his cellphone, "Babe, everything is OK. I have to let the cat out ... I'm just going to let the cat out," court papers said.
Chavis later ran from the house and was arrested. His wife was found in the car unconscious.
In interviews with police that day -- which include videotape footage -- Chavis hedged when police asked him if he had seen or talked to his wife or knew if she was OK.
"You have to ask her," he relied.
The Times Union reported last month that Chavis allegedly indicated that he had intended to kill his wife the prior Thursday -- and had a vehicle "all ready and waiting," Assistant District Attorney Shannon Sarfoh told acting Supreme Court Justice Dan Lamont.
At the time, the prosecutor said investigators found knives, a Taser and a sawed-off shotgun in Chavis' BMW.
Chavis, who has pleaded not guilty, recently was offered an 18-year plea deal in the case, which he has not accepted. He is being held without bail.
Robert Gavin can be reached at 434-2403 or email@example.com.