By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
The day before the killing was stormy, with fierce El Niño rains swelling sewer lines, bursting manhole covers and sending hills sliding down onto Pacific Coast Highway. But despite the weather, Mason’s friend Yoakum decided to head for Hollywood. He had stolen a gun and a cell phone from his uncle’s house; now he wanted to sell them.
He unloaded the phone for $20, and the buyer threw in 10 hits of acid. But no one paid the $200 Yoakum wanted for the gun, so he returned to the squat on Euclid. There, he met up with Mason and two other squatters. They dropped the acid and began discussing what to do with the gun.
"We started frying out and hallucinating and started getting delusional," Yoakum testified in court. "[Mason] said, ‘Give me the gun, you’re frying.’ I took the clip and gave him the gun. We both felt safe. I couldn’t use it without the bullets."
Yoakum and Mason then went down Euclid and walked toward the beach in the rain. "He said, ‘Maybe we can find somebody to use the gun on. I have somebody in mind,’" Yoakum testified in court. "I said, ‘Who?’ He said, ‘The first person we see. The first person we see, we shoot.’"
The first person who crossed their path was Elizabeth Ann Mangham, 17, a friend who lived in a Colorado Avenue squat. "He said, ‘That’s not Liz, that’s our first victim, give me the gun,’" Yoakum said.
When Mason realized it was Liz, he set his sights on another victim, Charles, one of the names on his hit list. "We knew where he slept," Yoakum said. "I guess the plan was that I would have to kill him. He said, ‘It’s raining. No one will know.’ He started convincing me."
But Charles’ usual sleeping place by a shut-down staircase on the Palisades bluff had been washed away by the rains, so they looked for another victim. They spotted a man who ran from his car toward an apartment, and followed. "As we got closer, I don’t know, I couldn’t do it," Yoakum testified. "I felt lame that I couldn’t do it. I don’t know why I couldn’t do it. We walked right by. The acid got me messed up."
After demanding money at gunpoint from squatters in the Idaho Street building they also controlled, Yoakum and Mason headed back to the Euclid squat. The acid was wearing off. "I wanted to go to sleep," Yoakum testified. "It was like a hangover. Me and Linus [Turner] and Liz went to the room with the head in it, and he slept in his room."
The next day — it was late morning or early afternoon, it was hard to tell — Yoakum got up to go to the bathroom. He grabbed his jacket to go out and saw Shevawn sleeping in the doorway of Mason’s room. Mason spotted him and shut the door.
"That was the last I saw of her," Yoakum said.
The night before she was killed, Shevawn curled up on the couch with her mother, and they watched Tank Girl, one of her favorite films. "She was coming out of the darkness," her father said. "It was just a strange time. It was a speed bump. We were seeing the end of it. She was starting to change the way she dressed. We were seeing the end of the tunnel."
Friends never understood what drove Shevawn to visit the Euclid squat the next morning. According to testimony, she had sex with Mason. Later, the two played around on the bed, and things started getting rough. Ultimately, police allege, Mason, Mangham and Scott strapped Shevawn to a metal chair with duct tape and rope and stuffed a sock in her mouth. During interrogation by the police, Mason changed his story about what exactly happened, but in the end, the jury found that he had strangled Shevawn with a cloth strap.
It took approximately one minute to strangle the life out of Shevawn Geoghegan, whose body showed no trace of drugs or alcohol, Coroner Irwin Golden testified. According to testimony, the three suspects then took the body down the stairs, wrapped it in a sleeping-bag cover and hid it in a corner of the basement, covering it with wooden pallets.
Yoakum said that after the killing, an elated Mason pulled him aside on the Third Street Promenade and, sitting on a step, bragged about how he strangled Shevawn. "He was ecstatic," Yoakum said. "It seemed like he just won the lottery . . . He said, ‘Since you live at the squat, there’s something you should know.’ He said, ‘You know how I said we needed a body as a trophy.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Look in the basement.’"
On Thursday, July 15, Glen Mason was convicted of murder in the first degree. The stoic defendant — who spent most of the trial scribbling notes and scrawling drawings — showed no emotion when the jury’s decision was read.
After the verdict, which assured that Mason would spend the rest of his life in state prison, Shevawn’s family and friends wept, laughed and embraced in the hallway. Then they visited the abandoned mental-health facility, where a banner of a blindfolded woman holding the scales of justice decorated a makeshift memorial that had been carefully tended for one and a half years.
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