Deputies: Florida husband arrested for torturing wife over divorce, money

James McMahan (Baker County Sheriff's Office)

BAKER COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – A man is in jail on a slew of charges after torturing his wife with a gun for hours, according to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the BCSO offense report, after about 25 years married, James McMahan, 67, and his wife Karen, 65, have been having marital problems last year. Finally this summer she filed for divorce and her attorney advised her to put the couple’s joint CD worth about $230,000 to a different account to make sure that James doesn’t take it all.

Last week the husband found a note from the bank in the mail. She tried to explain it away. James McMahan asked his wife to talk to him and after she agreed he pulled out a .38 silver revolver. He said he was going to kill her, her daughter and then himself because she was after his money. He said he had nothing to live for and would rather be dead than see her with his money, according to BCSO.

Karen told detectives that he hit her over the head with the gun and then across the face with an open hand. He grabbed her by the throat and pushed her against the wall, calling her a liar.

She tried to escape but he ordered her in the bedroom at gunpoint and told her he was going to kill her there. As she laid in bed at his order, he said he wanted to make her suffer pointing the gun at her knee. But instead, he made her get into his truck and drove her to the deserted area in the Osceola National Forest. He kept telling her he was driving her to the place he was going to kill her.

He ordered her out of the truck and she begged him to let her pray. She kneeled down and closed her eyes praying when she heard a loud gunshot right next to her. She didn’t feel any pain so she opened her eyes. He said: “I guess I missed.”

The two drove back to the house where he threatened to hurt her daughter who lives in Hamilton County if Karen told anybody about the events. He had smashed her phone and disconnected the landline that’s why she couldn’t call for help. The couple’s only neighbor lives about a football field away and they don’t know his name, according to BCSO.

The woman spent the evening and night at the house with her husband constantly snapping at her and threatening her. He was shooting the rifle in the back yard in the evening. Karen said she didn’t sleep at all that night. Only the next day she managed to get out because she had plans with her girlfriend and she managed to convince the man it would be suspicious if she didn’t show up.

When they were far away from Karen’s home she told her friend what happened and they both contacted authorities and Karen’s daughter.

The deputies went to the couple’s home and arrested James McMahan. He was belligerent and defensive when he was taken into custody. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, domestic battery by strangulation, kidnapping or false imprisonment, using a weapon during the commission of a felony, and felony obstruction for depriving the use of 911 or communications.

Detectives continue investigating the case. They said they didn’t see bruises or red marks on the woman and couldn’t locate the spent casings at the spot in the woods where she said he had shot right next to her. But they found a smoked cigarette there that was the same brand as found in James’ truck and at the house.

Karen McMahan decided not to stay at her house during the investigation. She said she was afraid her husband will get out of jail and find her there.

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