BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
KEOKUK – Twenty-five year old Adam Golden McCain of Fort Madison will spend the rest of his life in prison.
That was the order of District 8B Judge Mary Ann Brown at about 1:20 p.m. in front of about 65 people and media on the second floor of the South Lee County Courthouse Thursday afternoon.
Brown convicted McCain of first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old CaLove Sackman, a mother of four including the two-year-old Willow, whom she had with McCain.
McCain was convicted of stabbing Sackman multiple times after 10 p.m. Feb. 5. Testimony in the two-day bench trial showed McCain stabbed Sackman while in his white Monte Carlo after the two engaged in an argument.
Sackman tried to jump from the vehicle but was pulled back in and stabbed in the left chest. Sackman was then able to get out of the vehicle but McCain pulled his car around to where she was in the River City Mall parking lot and stabbed her several more times before trying to hit her with his car as she pulled herself onto the sidewalk north of the parking lot.
“His own words are that he despised her and he wanted her dead and if she was dead she would no longer harm him or any other man,” Brown said in her conclusion.
“The nature of the crime itself is significant evidence of the deliberation and premeditation involved.”
After describing the crime and the injuries, including the defensive wounds on Sackman’s hands, coupled with the fact that McCain drove around to attack Sackman again, Brown said McCain knew what he was doing and and had forethought.
“His behavior and statements earlier in the evening indicate that he was a man on a mission. He was bound and determined to come see and confront CaLove in Keokuk that evening,” Brown said.
Brown also said the fact that McCain drove in an ice storm from Fort Madison and Keokuk points to remeditation.
“All this circumstantial evidence leads to a reasonable conclusion that the defendant planned to meet CaLove to make her pay for how, in his mind, she wronged him,” Brown said.
“The state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions in stabbing CaLove, causing her death, were willfully, premeditatedly, and deliberately done. Based upon that the court renders a verdict finding the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree,” Brown said.
McCain, seated at the defense table clad in red Lee County Jail fatigues, nodded his head three times and then looked down as seven Lee County Sheriff’s deputies, including Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber, stood watchful around the bar.
Brown asked the defense team if they were ready to move forward with sentencing and McCain’s attorney Kendra Abfalter said they were. Then Brown asked if the Sackman family would like to make any statements prior to sentencing.
Asst. Lee County Attorney Jonathan Stensvaag met briefly with the family and then said the family would like an hour recess to prepare the statements. Brown recessed the court for one hour.
During the recess, Lee County Attorney Ross Braden, who co-prosecuted the case with Stensvaag, said McCain’s penalty under the first-degree murder conviction will get life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“He’ll be going to prison for the rest of his life,” Braden said. “The statements are more cathartic than anything, but the court likes to give the families a chance to be heard. But there’ll be no parole, he’s going away for the rest of his life.”
Iowa doesn’t carry the death penalty, but any life sentence is required to be without the possibility of parole.