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Murder charges filed against boyfriend in McKay case

BY JORDAN FRIES | MARCH 11, 2010 7:30 AM

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Authorities have charged Sarah McKay’s live-in boyfriend of roughly two years with killing the 34-year-old mother, Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said Wednesday.

Eric Scott Osborn, 26, of 18 Expo Drive, was charged with first-degree murder, a Class A felony carrying a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Sixth District Associate Judge Stephen Gerard set a $1 million cash bond for Osborn.

A search-warrant affidavit filed Monday described what Osborn allegedly told authorities as well as deputies’ own observations:

Osborn and McKay went gambling on the night of March 6 and purchased beer on the way home. During the early hours of Sunday morning, the couple reportedly drank the beer, smoked marijuana, and played video games. Osborn also told Deputy Dan Quiles that he took some pills, according to the warrant.

The night became sinister at roughly 3 a.m., when Osborn told authorities he struck McKay across the head with a baseball bat. He said he didn’t want her to suffer so he strangled her to death. Osborn reportedly told deputies he blacked out and had no idea why he killed McKay.



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Johnson County Medical Examiner Stephen Scheckel confirmed McKay died from blunt-force trauma and injuries to the head and neck.

When a distraught Osborn realized what he had done, he reportedly attempted to hang himself and cut his wrists. He drank bleach, alcohol, and took valium, eventually passing out until just before 8 p.m., authorities said.

Osborn’s mother, Vicki Cox, told deputies her son “sounded like a little child” when he called and told her he may have fatally hurt McKay in a domestic fight.

Cox drove from her home in Muscatine with her fiancé, Bobby Randall, and they found Osborn with a bloody neck and wrists, according to reports.

Randall immediately dialed 911.

The brightly lit bedroom showed McKay’s body lying with the covers stretched up to her neck, said Quiles in the affidavit.

Police said Osborn admitted his actions after being read his Miranda rights.

He is currently being treated for non-life-threatening self-inflicted wounds at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.

Osborn’s record shows a bevy of past alcohol and drug-related offenses, including an OWI arrest in 2009 and a 2004 controlled-substance violation. Court records show no domestic-violence complaints.

Authorities said Osborn did not display any previous signs of extreme violence.

“A drunk-driving charge isn’t a prediction of this kind of tragedy,” said Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness. “No judge can look into the future and predict something this.”

Kristie Doser, the director of the local Domestic Violence Intervention Program, said roughly 70 percent of all domestic-abuse victims are involved in substance-abuse situations.

BJ Franklin of the Horizon Survivors Program said Osborn has three children, none with McKay, and they did not live with him.

McKay had a daughter, Emilia, from a previous relationship who lives with her maternal grandmother in Iowa City.

A preliminary hearing has been set for March 22.


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