LAWRENCEVILLE -- The handwritten note police reportedly found was as cryptic as it was telling:
"I killed Eva. I must be crazy. I must kill myself. How?"
Several decades of marriage and post-retirement plans came to a bizarre end this month when Alex Blatt, 70, bound his 62-year-old wife, Eva, with duct tape in their master bedroom and bashed her to death with a black marble statuette, according to testimony in Blatt's probable cause hearing Friday.
Gwinnett police Detective J.A. Rowell testified that Blatt's next move was to ingest a variety of medications and slice his wrist in a failed suicide attempt. Over the course of a four-day, guarded hospital stay, Blatt admitted to killing his wife to hospital staff and police but could give no clear motive, Rowell testified.
"The best answer he could give me ... is that he wanted to die himself and he wanted her to die with him," Rowell testified.
Investigators learned that Blatt had grappled with mental health issues, and had been committed to Peachford Hospital in Atlanta for psychiatric issues a couple of weeks prior. Those conditions, however, didn't appear to have stalled the retired couple's plans of buying a home together north of Gwinnett County.
Rowell said police were initially called to the couple's tidy ranch on Summerfield Way by a friend who was concerned because they'd missed a house closing appointment, which wasn't like them. Inside, police found Blatt in a bathroom and believed he too was dead, until he groaned. They soon found his wife, and the note.
An autopsy revealed Eva Blatt had died of blunt force trauma to the back of her head. Blatt told police he'd struggled to tape up his wife's hands and feet because she didn't want to die. He tried to suffocate her with a pillow, then strangle her with a belt before resorting to the statuette, which was on a bedroom table, Rowell testified.
"At times, in my opinion, he showed signs of remorse," Rowell testified. "I never got the impression he was unfit to answer questions."
With no argument from either side, a judge found probable cause to bind a single count of murder against Blatt to Gwinnett Superior Court. Wearing a green jumpsuit, his hair disheveled and face stubbled with grey, Blatt nodded to a friend in the gallery and was led back into the jail, a bandage over his right wrist.