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Tenn. teacher in Texas after teen lover slain

A lawyer says a Tennessee teacher who disappeared after her husband killed her 18-year-old lover is living in Texas with her sons and another teenaged man.
Image: Eric McLean
Eric McLean, right, talks to his attorney, Bruce Poston, during court proceedings in September in Knoxville, Tenn. Michael Patrick / Knoxville News Sentinel via AP f
/ Source: The Associated Press

A teacher who disappeared after her then-husband killed her 18-year-old lover is living in Texas with her sons and another teenage man, according to testimony at a hearing Wednesday on who should get custody of the boys.

Erin McLean was having an affair with Sean Powell when her then-husband shot him in the head in 2007. She met Powell while student teaching at his high school.

McLean, who was 29 at the time, left Knoxville soon after with the couple’s two sons, 12-year-old Eric and 9-year-old Ian. Her whereabouts were unknown for months.

She was listed as a witness but didn’t testify when ex-husband Eric McLean was tried on a first-degree murder charge last month. He testified that he accidentally shot Powell while trying to get him to leave the couple’s home.

Jurors convicted him of reckless homicide after hearing evidence that Erin McLean had flaunted her affair.

The McLeans divorced in February, and Eric McLean, who is not in prison, was granted visitation with the boys. His sentencing is set for next month, but he’s unlikely to serve time.

His divorce attorney, Steve Sharp, told The Knoxville News Sentinel that Eric McLean hasn’t seen his children since Erin McLean left. Sharp said he tracked them to Austin, Texas, where they were living with an 18-year-old.

Sharp said Erin McLean testified she was on the run to avoid a media circus and called the teen living with her a temporary helper, though Sharp described him as a boyfriend.

Eric McLean’s criminal defense attorney, Bruce Poston, testified that Erin McLean fled the state after she was fired from a Nashville school amid allegations of improper contact with students there.

No attorney represented her at the hearing, held via conference call by a judge in Austin. Gary Blackburn, who represented her on the allegations of misconduct in Nashville, said he was no longer her lawyer. No phone number was listed for her in Austin.

The Texas judge awarded Eric McLean’s mother, Tanya, temporary custody and scheduled a hearing in Knoxville next week. Sharp said Thursday that Tanya McLean was headed back to her Tennessee home with the boys.