Crime - Sacto 911

Couple convicted of murder in 2013 torture, death

Jeremy McMahon
Jeremy McMahon Sacramento Police Department

Jurors returned guilty verdicts against the Sacramento pair tried in the torture killing of a man they kept captive for days in their midtown apartment in 2013.

Jeremy McMahon and Michelle Okamura were convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder, torture, false imprisonment and gun crimes in the October 2013 killing of 23-year-old Eric Jackson at Okamura’s apartment at 17th and O streets in Sacramento.

McMahon expressed little emotion, a hand resting on his chin, as the jurors were polled, each confirming their verdict before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne Gilliard. Okamura, next to her attorney Paul Irish, appeared to wipe away tears as her fate was revealed. Both will be sentenced before Gilliard on April 7.

The disturbing case began early Oct. 6, 2013, with Jackson’s calls asking to visit Okamura, a massage therapist, for a massage, said prosecutors.

At trial, Sacramento County district attorney’s prosecutor Casey Newton argued that Okamura and McMahon had revenge on their minds. Okamura had told McMahon that Jackson had made a sexual advance toward her and the two plotted to lash Jackson to Okamura’s massage table. Newton argued the pair then spent the next two days torturing Jackson with a red-hot knife heated on a kitchen stove.

Irish argued that Okamura was not involved in the killing and that she, too, was beaten and threatened by McMahon. Irish said Okamura tried to take blame for the killing to protect McMahon, but did not participate in Jackson’s torture.

Irish on Tuesday said he was “disappointed” by the verdict and vowed to appeal the decision.

Jackson made a final attempt to escape Oct. 8, breaking free of his restraints and fighting briefly with McMahon before he was shot dead with a .45-caliber handgun. McMahon and Okamura had told police who rushed to the scene that the shot that killed Jackson was in self-defense.

But jurors at the trial saw shocking video captured by McMahon’s cellular phone that showed otherwise. The footage showed a bound Jackson straining and groaning atop Okamura’s massage table.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith