Justin McMahan Arrested in Murder of Phoenix College Football Coach

Justin McMahan was arrested Thursday for the murder of former Phoenix College head football coach Land Jacobsen.

Jacobson, 59, died Tuesday, several days after he was shot in the abdomen at his Peoria home in the early morning hours of July 17.

Documents obtained by New Times reveal that Jacobsen told police during his 911 call for help that he'd invited an unidentified man over for drinks after meeting him over the Internet.

Jacobsen told police that the man attempted to rob him shortly after arriving at his home. He said the robbery attempt began after he invited the man into his home, then headed to the refrigerator to get his guest a beer, the documents say.

After an apparent physical struggle between the two men, the man shot Jacobsen in the left abdomen with a silver handgun, Jacobsen told police.

Police found duct tape wrapped around one of Jacobsen's wrists. Investigators believe that Jacobsen's attacker attempted to tie his hands up with duct tape at some point. Pools of blood were found in the kitchen, living room, family room, and hallways. Detectives determined that the shooting occurred in the kitchen, the documents say.

Jacobsen was too injured to provide police with any more information beyond what he revealed during his 911 call. Footage from a neighbor's surveillance camera showed a white car near Jacobsen's home a little before 2:30 a.m., then leaving a little more than 15 minutes before Jacobsen called police.

Phone records show that the last call made on Jacobsen's cell phone was to McMahan's phone at 2:20 a.m. Voice messages left on Jacobsen's phone from that number match McMahan's voice, according to McMahan's probation officer, records say. McMahan is currently on probation for a 2001 kidnapping and assault case that resulted in a 12-year prison sentence.

McMahan was arrested while meeting up with his girlfriend at a Circle K at 35th Avenue and Baseline Road. Police found McMahan driving a vehicle similar to the one seen on the video footage obtained from Jacobsen's neighbor.

Moreover, sneaker imprints left in the blood at Jacobsen's house match the patterns found on the sole of the sneakers McMahan was wearing at the time of the arrest.

McMahan's girlfriend admitted to police that she'd seen him with a silver hand-gun in recent weeks.

She identified McMahan's voice in the voicemail recordings left on Jacobsen's phone, and she told police that McMahan told her that he went to drop off a package to an unidentified man, then shot him after getting into a physical altercation with him, the documents say.

It's still unclear what prompted the two men to meet up with one another, and the investigation is still ongoing. McMahan has been charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, and a weapons violation.

McMahan's bail has been set at $1 million.

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Jason Lewis
Contact: Jason Lewis