Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ex-Sheriff’s Deputy Convicted in Mayhem, Sexual Torture Case

Robert McClain. Photo: Orange County District Attorney's Office.

An Affair Discovered

In late 2008, Robert McClain was a 34-year-old ex-Marine – a Desert Storm veteran working as an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy in the downtown county jail. He had been married to his 31-year-old wife for 12 years; the couple had four children together. The couple had both worked as real estate agents until the economic downturn when business dried up. His wife took a job in the leasing office of an Irvine apartment complex, where she met a 23-year-old man who had come to LA from Missouri to begin a music career – he’d even auditioned (unsuccessfully) for American Idol. The two began to see each other romantically.

When McClain discovered the affair and his wife’s plans to leave him and end their marriage, he told hi

s wife that he wanted to meet her lover, the man that might be spending considerable time with his children in the future. “All I am gonna do is shake his hand,” he told her.

But a peaceful meeting was the furthest thing from Robert McClain’s mind. Instead, he terrorized the new couple for hours on end in one of the most heinous attacks in Orange County history.

Torture in the Leasing Office

At roughly 9 pm on September 28, 2008, Robert McClain’s wife brought her husband to the apartment complex where she worked to introduce him to her lover. She had no idea that the next ten hours would bring unimaginable torture. McClain took control of the situation and forced them into a secluded kitchenette in the leasing office. First, he demanded to know how many times they had had sex. Then the beating began, with the 245-pound McClain attacking the 145-pound young man with his fists. McClain then took out a knife and guns and ordered his wife and her lover to undress. McClain took off his own clothes and ordered his wife to perform oral sex on them both. She refused, and the beatings worsened.

The ex-Marine continued his assault, punching and kicking both victims until the young man was prone on the ground. When his wife threw herself on the ground to protect the man, McClain kicked her in the side. The wife would later report that she begged McClain to stop for the sake of their children, but he would not. Instead, he exclaimed: “Look at this white boy. You’re cheating on me with this. This is what you’re leaving me for?” He ordered his wife to have sex with her wounded lover, but they could not because they were terrified and gravely injured – the young man drifting in and out of consciousness. McClain put a knife in his wife’s hands and told her to castrate her young lover – and she pretended to do it. Investigators later found puncture wounds in the victim’s testicles and groin area.

At one point, McClain gave his wife a gun and told her to shoot him or her lover, telling her there was one bullet in the gun. She turned and fired the gun at her captor but McClain had not loaded any bullets. The wife’s actions infuriated McClain even more and he attacked his victims with the butt of a gun. McClain furthered the pain and humiliation of his wife and her lover by urinating on them, and sodomizing the man with a knife and slashing his face.

Two hours after the attack began, McClain forced his wife out of the building and into his car where he sodomized her at gunpoint and chopped off her hair before driving them back to their home in Irvine. At the home, McClain continued to beat her repeatedly. When she thought he had fallen asleep, the wife tried to escape but McClain rose up and tackled her – breaking her clavicle and knocking her out.

When she regained consciousness the next morning, she found McClain really had fallen asleep. Seizing her chance at freedom, the woman gathered the four children and drove to a hospital for treatment and to report the incident.

At around 7 am on September 29, 2008, a cleaning crew found the young man lying bleeding in the leasing office and called 911. He would need extensive surgery to repair his face, and his jaw would be wired shut. In addition to the numerous stab wounds (five to his scrotum, and two to his penis) and massive blood loss, the man suffered extreme brain damage. He would have to undergo months of rehab to regain his ability to walk and talk.

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