The Sacramento couple who tied and tortured an early morning massage client for days in their midtown apartment before ultimately killing him when he tried to escape will spend the rest of their lives in state prison, a judge ordered Friday.
Jeremy McMahon was sentenced to life in prison without parole and his girlfriend Michelle Okumura received a sentence of 38 years to life on first-degree murder, torture and false imprisonment charges before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne Gilliard.
The midtown pair killed Eric Jackson, 22, on Oct. 8, 2013, but not before a macabre two days that began with Jackson’s pre-dawn visit to Okumura for a massage. Jurors at the couple’s murder trial in January listened to testimony that the two had plotted revenge against Jackson after Okumura told McMahon that Jackson had made a sexual advance toward her.
Over the next two days at the apartment on 17th and O streets, McMahon and Okumura kept Jackson captive, prosecutors said. They tied Jackson to Okumura’s massage table with a collection of bungee cords, electrical cords, torn bed sheets and strips of cloth before repeatedly burning his flesh with a knife superheated on the apartment’s kitchen stove.
In court, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Casey Newton called it a plot to “tie up, torture, and, ultimately, kill” Jackson.
At one point during the murder trial, jurors caught a disturbing glimpse of what Jackson endured: a brief video culled from McMahon’s cellular phone that showed a bound, writhing and groaning Jackson straining to free himself from his bonds.
Jackson broke free for one final chance at escape the morning of Oct. 8, 2013, fighting briefly with McMahon before he was shot dead with a .45-caliber handgun. Prosecutors said McMahon fired the fatal shot.
McMahon and Okumura initially told police officers, who arrived within minutes of the shooting, that the shot was fired in self-defense.
Jurors convicted the pair in February.