Police took a man wanted as a potential suspect in a West Point slaying into custody Thursday night following a vehicle pursuit in the Sacramento area.
Gary Fielden McMahan, 31, has been identified as a “person of interest” and possible suspect in relation to the death of Norman C. Gresham III, 47, at his home Tuesday morning.
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Tuesday saying Gresham and a woman were found bleeding and unconscious at the home on the 200 block of Stanley Road.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Chris Hewitt said late Thursday that McMahan had been apprehended after a chase involving Lodi police and the California Highway Patrol.
A receptionist for Calaveras County Coroner Kevin Raggio confirmed an autopsy was performed Thursday on Gresham but directed inquiries to the Sheriff’s Office for further information. Hewitt said Thursday no additional information would be released regarding the investigation until today.
No update was given Thursday as to the condition of the female victim.
Signs outside Gresham’s home indicated a closed-circuit video surveillance system on the premises, but it unknown whether it captured video footage of the attack.
The Amador County Superior Court issued warrants July 5 for McMahan’s arrest after he failed to appear July 3 for a sentencing hearing on a felony conviction. Records on the court’s website do not specify the charges against McMahan, and a call to the court clerk’s office went unanswered Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the Amador County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on cases involving McMahan. Supervised by local authorities under Assembly Bill 109, which moved certain convicts from state to county probation supervision, McMahan’s post-release community supervision status was revoked in July 2012.
McMahan, who has had several known addresses in Calaveras and Amador counties and listed himself as a Calaveras High School alum in his Facebook profile, also has a lengthy history of run-ins with the law in Calaveras County. Various court records indicate he worked in 2004 as a machinist in Pine Grove but was unemployed in following years. He was sentenced July 5, 2011, to 16 months in prison for possession of stolen property. In a separate case, charges of being a felon in possession of ammunition and drug possession were ultimately dismissed.
Federal court records showed Gresham, too, had run afoul of the law on occasion. A U.S. District Court judge in Sacramento sentenced him to 11 months in federal prison for drug possession on Dec. 7, 2009, revoking court-ordered supervision imposed about 18 months earlier.
Gresham worked as a housesitter and animal caretaker before his death. Acquaintances in West Point recalled seeing him often with his dog, Belle, a 7-year-old Great Dane mix.
“He was a great guy. He was always happy,” said Rick Torgerson, a real estate agent and publisher of the monthly West Point News. “It was a horrible, horrible situation, and he didn’t deserve that to happen to him. No one does.”
Mo Lopez, a cashier at KC’s Korner, a convenience store and gas station Gresham frequented, lamented that with little information being released through official channels, rumor and innuendo are filling in the gaps.
“Stories are flying everywhere here,” Lopez said.
He said Gresham had only begun dating the woman, attacked while at his home, in recent weeks.
With an outpouring of concern for Gresham, Lopez, a deacon at the West Point Community Covenant Church, said there has been discussion of the congregation hosting a memorial service for him.
Belle has been at the county animal shelter since the incident occurred, and shelter volunteers described the dog as “scared” after arrival.
“We have been in contact with next of kin, and they have granted us release to give the dog to a close friend (of Gresham),” said Animal Services Manager Henning Schreiber.
Schreiber said Belle was scheduled to be picked up later today.
The Union Democrat is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Tuesday through Saturday. E-Edition or Print Plus subscribers have full access.
If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access. Circulation: 209-533-3614
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties