Michael Scanlan spent nearly an hour on the witness stand yesterday describing his relationship with Anne Marie Fahey, the appointments secretary for Gov. Tom Carper and the victim in the murder trial that entered its second day here in state Superior Court.
As Scanlan, 34, provided a detailed account of a storybook romance, lawyer Thomas J. Capano, Fahey's former lover and the man accused of murdering her, sat at the defense table jotting notes on a legal pad and whispering in the ear of one of his four defense attorneys.
The two men did not appear to look at each other.
Scanlan's reminiscence followed testimony in which Fahey's psychiatrist said she feared Capano and was worried for her safety if she broke off the relationship.
Capano, 49, is accused of killing Fahey, 30, because she refused to renew a secret love affair they had carried on for more than two years. The affair ended about the time she met Scanlan.
``She was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life,'' said Scanlan, an executive in the community-affairs office of MBNA, a locally based company that is one of the largest issuers of credit cards in the country.
His testimony before Superior Court Judge William Swain Lee capped a day that included a detailed account of Fahey's emotional and mental problems from the psychiatrist who had treated her off and on from 1991 until June 27, 1996, the day she disappeared.
Dr. Neil S. Kaye said Fahey told him during two visits in June 1996 that she was afraid of Capano and trying to end their relationship. He also said that the pressure and tension of her dealings with Capano caused Fahey's anorexia to flare up.
At one point, Kaye said, Fahey was taking up to 15 laxatives a day and had lost about 25 pounds. At the time she disappeared, friends estimated that the 5-foot-10 brunette weighed just 120 pounds.
``She was genuinely fearful [of Capano],'' Kaye said. ``She was worried that harm would come to her if she broke things off. She was trying to let him down easy.''
Capano, on the other hand, ``knew how to push her buttons,'' said Kaye, who last spoke to Fahey on the afternoon of June 27. Later that night, Fahey had dinner with Capano at a restaurant in Philadelphia.
Authorities contend that Capano took her back to his home on Grant Avenue here after that dinner date and killed her. The next day, he and his brother Gerard dumped her body in the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles off Stone Harbor, N.J.
Her body has never been found.
Gerard Capano is expected to be one of the key witnesses for the prosecution in the case. His testimony has already been overshadowed, however, by the opening arguments of defense attorney Joseph Oteri.
On Monday, Oteri told the jury that Thomas Capano had indeed disposed of Fahey's body at sea, as Gerard Capano told authorities. But Oteri said Fahey died as a result of a horrible accident.
He did not elaborate. But the defense strategy implied in his opening indicates that at some point, Thomas Capano will take the stand.
While Kaye said Fahey mentioned her relationship with Capano during her therapy sessions, he acknowledged under cross-examination by Oteri that Capano's name did not appear in any of the psychiatric or counseling session reports that are part of Fahey's file.
Kaye said that was not unusual. He also acknowledged that he had only seen Fahey for a total of about two or three hours during the five-year off-and-on period when she was being treated at the mental-health agency that he co-owns.
Scanlan, who has not yet faced cross-examination, told the jury that he was unaware of any relationship that Fahey might have had with Capano. He testified that she told him about a weight-control problem but did not specify that she was dealing with an eating disorder.
``She said she had a problem that caused her to lose weight,'' said Scanlan, who added that he was aware she was seeing a psychologist.
In fact, Fahey was seeing both a psychologist and Kaye, the psychiatrist, and was taking anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication prescribed by Kaye at the time she disappeared.
Scanlan offered a different picture of Fahey, however. He said that while she had discussed her troubled childhood with him - her mother died when she was 9, and her father was an alcoholic - she also emphasized how close she was to her four brothers and sister.
He described Fahey as someone whose laughter ``could take over a room.'' He talked about dinner dates, tickets to the opera, and a romantic ride on a snowy night in January over the back roads between here and Newark.
He said they were deeply involved and saw or spoke with each other daily.
``When we had the time, we were usually with each other,'' said Scanlan, who said both he and Fahey had heavy work schedules.
He said Fahey, who spoke Spanish, used the name Miguel as a term of endearment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colm Connolly, one of two prosecutors handling the case, questioned Scanlan for about an hour late yesterday afternoon, using Fahey's date books for 1995 and 1996 as a road map for their romance.
Scanlan was asked to explain dozens of references to things such as the ``Great Gala,'' a formal dance to which he took Fahey in January; flowers he sent on Valentine's Day; and a Luther Vandross concert they attended at the end of February.
He also testified that he sent her flowers ``out of the blue'' early in May because he knew she was dealing with some emotional problems.
``She said they were beautiful,'' Scanlan said when asked how Fahey reacted to the unexpected bouquet. ``I told her that's the way I felt about her.''