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The Daily Herald
By Christy Gutowski, Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer
Posted Thursday, February 22, 2007
Nearly six years ago, David McMahon told police he came home from an early-morning fishing trip to find his wife, Lisa, bludgeoned to death in their Glendale Heights home.
Police did not find any signs of forced entry, struggle or a murder weapon. But Lisa McMahon’s family, aware of the couple’s troubled marriage, long suspected the husband might be responsible.
The long court battle ended today when David McMahon admitted killing his wife on Aug. 23, 2001. In a plea deal, he was sentenced to 38 years in prison for second-degree murder and aggravated robbery. The 41-year-old man will be eligible for parole after serving half the term.
“I’m just glad it’s over, at least for the next 15 years,” said Liv Breen, the victim’s mother. “He murdered my daughter and, hopefully, he won’t hurt anyone else when he gets out of prison.”
Prosecutors charged the husband in September 2002 with the slaying, but the arrest warrant was sealed until McMahon could be taken into custody. By that time, he’d vanished.
Police didn’t give up. In January 2003, Glendale Heights investigators learned McMahon had been renting an apartment in Reno, Nev.
Armed with a warrant, police swarmed the apartment Jan. 31, 2003. He did not fight extradition, and has remained in the DuPage County jail ever since while his court case was pending.
Prosecutor David Bayer said the couple was having marital problems. Lisa McMahon had threatened to leave her husband in March 2001 after accusing him of being addicted to pornography. She also told him she planned to leave him for another man.
Her mother said Lisa McMahon sent an e-mail to her family and friends April 14, 2001, telling them David McMahon had attempted suicide one day earlier by swallowing 32 anti-depressant and anxiety pills.
“David and I have been having a lot of trouble and strife with his pornography addiction even to an ultimatum in March – lose the pornography or lose me,” Lisa wrote. “He chose to get rid of the offensive material and stay.”
The couple, who did not have children, married in January 1999. They had sought counseling for their troubles.
David McMahon, a salesman, called 911 at 9:46 a.m. Aug. 23, 2001, to report he had returned from the fishing trip to find his wife dead. Police arrived at the two-story home at 2107 Brittany Court and found Lisa McMahon lying on her stomach, her face buried in a pillow wearing only underwear.
She had been beaten with a lamp during an argument, according to the husband’s recent videotaped confession, which he agreed to make as part of the plea deal.
McMahon will be eligible for parole in less than 15 years. His defense team, Steve Dalton and Jeff York, both senior assistant DuPage County public defenders, said the prosecution’s case was largely circumstantial, which led to the plea agreement.
DuPage Circuit Judge Perry Thompson presided over today’s plea deal in Wheaton.