Marcella Corona, RGJ 9:04 a.m. PST February 5, 2015
A 78-year-old man accused of stabbing his wife to death last year at his south Reno apartment faces a murder indictment, the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office reported Monday.
A grand jury last week indicted Daniel Pancake on open murder after police found his wife, Janice Gannon, 54, dead inside his apartment, Deputy District Attorney Amos Stege said Monday. Pancake could face life in prison without parole, Stege said in an earlier interview.
Pancake has been in jail since his arrest in late November.
On Nov. 18, police received a call from Pancake’s 11-year-old son, Alex Pancake, who said his father was beating his mother inside their home on the 6100 block of Plumas Street, police said.
The boy told officers that his father had stabbed his mother and then attempted suicide in the boy’s bedroom, according to a police report.
Pancake was found outside covered in blood with cuts to both his wrists, police said. Authorities said Pancake had “uttered” to an officer that he had killed his wife because he was “tired of her drinking.”
Officers said they had found a large amount of blood in the entry way of the dining room that trailed upstairs to a bedroom where Gannon was found.
The police report said officers also found a knife with blood stains on the dining room table.
The family is looking for justice, said Cyndy Brower, Gannon’s oldest sister, in a phone interview Monday morning.
“Alex lost his mother and probably his father for a very long time,” Brower said. “We’re not at all disappointed that he’s been indicted of course.”
Pancake’s attorney could not be reached for comment Monday. A telephone message was left.
Brower said Alex is living with family in Michigan. But the memories of that night still haunt the boy, despite nearly 3,000 miles separating him from his former home in south Reno.
“He’s having horrific nightmares,” Brower said, adding her nephew is undergoing psychological therapy. “He’ll start out the day well, and then he’ll have a breakdown.
“He’ll never be able to smell her neck again or touch her, and she won’t be around to tuck him in at night.”
Alex was also recovering from a car accident that happened in October 2013, Brower said. The boy will likely undergo oral surgery and skin treatment for burns he obtained after he was struck by a car while crossing a street in south Reno, she said.
“He’s gone through so many things that an 11-year-old shouldn’t have to go through,” Brower said.
“We’re horrified at the manner his mother died, and we’re horrified at what Alex witnessed,” she said. “He saw the whole thing and tried to stop his mother’s bleeding.
“We are praying for the best outcome from all of this for Alex,” she said. “He’s our concern now, and we want to make sure he’s safe and hopefully won’t have to go back for the trial.”
Brower said her sister – Alex’s mother – was fighting a deep depression but made sure not to show it around her son.
“These last few years, she was dealing with a deep, deep depression, but she was a very loving and a very kind person,” Brower said. “She was a fantastic mother making do with what was available to her.
“When she was around Alex, you’d never even know what she was going through,” she said. “When she was with Alex, she was always giggly and bubbly.
“She had him in the Cub Scouts, and she went on several fishing trips with Alex and overnight camping trips with him,” she said. “She tried to be both parents for him.”
Reno shows generosity
Tracy Vertucci, Sports West Athletic Club membership sales manager and fitness instructor, said her daughter went to school with Alex at Caughlin Ranch Elementary. That motivated her to play host to a fundraiser at the club late last month, raising more than $2,000.
“Our goal was to help him with the psychological treatment and to get the family going because he was having a lot of nightmares,” Vertucci said, adding that a donation box was set up at the club.
Alex’s family also launched an online donation site with Move Your Mountain Inc. The goal was to raise $10,000 to pay for Alex’s medical bills, Brower said.
As of Monday afternoon, the site had raised about $5,000.
Brower said the family hopes to meet their goal at a four-day estate sale that starts Thursday.
The family will be selling Gannon’s collection of antiques and furniture at her home on 3965 Skyline Blvd.
They then plan on reselling left over items for donations, with proceeds benefiting the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission, Brower said.
“The community has just been — awesome is not even the right work,” Brower said. “Everyone has just been so generous.
“God bless everyone in the Reno community,” she said.
•Pancake faces an upcoming arraignment in Washoe District Court.
•The date for his arraignment has not been set as of Monday morning.
How to help:
• Donations can be made online at www.myfunding.com or at Sports West Athletic Club, 1575 S. Virginia St.
If you go:
• What: A four-day estate sale will be held at Janice Gannon’s home in south Reno. The family plans on selling Gannon’s antique collection and furniture.
• When: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
• Where: 3965 Skyline Blvd.
Originally posted: Reno-Gazette Journal Original Story