In July, Phoenix College football coach Land Jacobsen was shot in his Peoria home. He died a week later.
Authorities accuse Justin Otis McMahan of murdering Jacobsen. Now Jacobsen's family wants prosecutors to pursue the death penalty against McMahan, The Arizona Republic reports.
In a 911 call he made after the shooting, Jacobsen said that he had met his assailant online and had invited him over that night for a beer, according to court documents. Jacobsen told authorities that he offered the man a beer.
He then got up to get the beer from the refrigerator. When he returned, his assailant was pointing a handgun at him, Jacobsen told authorities. The assailant reportedly told Jacobsen he was being robbed and ordered him to lay on the floor.
Soon after, the men began to struggle, according to court documents. When police arrived at Jacobsen's house, they found him lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the left side of his abdomen and wounds to his mouth and nose.
Peoria police were able to track McMahan down a week later by tracing the cell phone number McMahan had used to talk to Jacobsen. After Jacobsen's death, McMahan was charged with first-degree murder, attempted kidnapping, and attempted armed robbery. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Under Arizona law, first-degree murder is a premeditated, deliberate killing, meaning the murder was intentional or thought out. A conviction is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. The death penalty is often applied in cases where the defendant shows no remorse or has a long history of violent crime.
According to Jacobsen's sister, Lynn Jacobsen, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has consulted with the family about whether they want to pursue the death penalty. She said that the family overwhelmingly wants the death penalty for McMahan. "If he is found guilty, we want to make sure he is not able to do this to anyone else," she said.
- Justin McMahan Arrested in Murder of Phoenix College Football Coach (Phoenix New Times)
- Homicide (FindLaw)
- First Degree Murder (FindLaw)
- Homeowner Stabbed, But Still Captures Intruder (FindLaw's Phoenix Criminal Law Blog)