Brynn Hartman's Last Hours

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Phil Hartman's wife left his body on their bloody bed and went to a friend's house to confess the killing before returning home to kill herself, say Southern California newspapers. After shooting the "NewsRadio" actor-comedian as he slept around 2 a.m. Thursday, Brynn Hartman went to the home of an unidentified male friend, the Los Angeles Times and the Daily News of Los Angeles reported, citing unnamed sources. Nearly incoherent, Mrs. Hartman confessed to the killing, but the friend did not believe her, the Times said. However, after she fell asleep he checked her purse and found a handgun that he confiscated, the newspaper said.

Brynn, 40, awoke several hours later, returned to her home with the friend and locked herself in the bedroom with the body of her 49-year-old husband, the Times said. The friend called 911 about 6:20 a.m. and was escorting the Hartmans' nine-year-old son, Sean, out of the house when police arrived. As the officers took the couple's six-year-old daughter, Birgen, out of the home, Mrs. Hartman shot herself in the head. Police would not confirm the newspaper reports.

Regarding a possible motive in the tragedy, Brynn Hartman reportedly had become distraught the night before the murder when she read a note from her husband that implied he wanted to end the marriage. Family and friends have given conflicting accounts of the 11-year marriage. "They had a pattern of arguing at night, and he would go to sleep and everything would be OK in the morning," said Steven Small, a lawyer and close friend who represented the actor in his two divorces. Small said that when he asked about the marriage earlier this month, Hartman told him: "It's as good as it's been. It's working fine." "He was in therapy," Small said. "He was enjoying it and getting value out of it. He was more communicative, coming out of his shell."