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Crime & Justice

Closing arguments begin in trial of former L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy accused of torturing wife, her lover

Robert McClain
Robert McClain
Orange County DA's Office

Closing arguments began Monday afternoon in the trial of former L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy Robert McClain, accused of torturing his wife and her lover nearly to death in an empty office in Irvine.

McClain, 38, reportedly has worn a white skullcap and button-down shirts in the courtroom while listening impassively to court proceedings. Prosecutors accuse him of brutalizing his 31-year-old wife of 12 years and her boyfriend, a 23-year-old musician, in a jealous rage after finding out about their affair.

They say that McClain, a muscular 245-pound ex-Marine, lured the lovers to his wife’s leasing office in Irvine in 2008, where he imprisoned them and proceeded to torture them physically, sexually and emotionally for two and a half hours.

The Orange County Register reports that jurors have listened to graphic testimony, including allegations that McClain slashed the younger man’s face and groin with a knife, broke every bone in his face and caused him to suffer permanent brain damage. He also beat his wife severely, and played a kind of psychological Russian roulette with her using an unloaded gun.

McClain has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of torture, aggravated mayhem, kidnapping and sexual assault. He faces life in prison if convicted -- and depending on how the sanity phase of his trial goes.