Man sentenced for strangling death during sex
A man has been sentenced to jail for strangling a woman during sex in a homeless camp in Mountain View in May of 2016.
Thursday, Jeffrey McCracken, 40, was sentenced to serve six years in prison for the death of Susan Ragan, who was 48 when she died. While Judge Michael Wolverton sentenced McCracken to nine years with three suspended-- meaning six years to serve-- a prosecutor said he could be eligible for parole after four years. With credit for time served, McCracken could be released on parole as soon as two-and-a-half years from now.
He was initially charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, though a grand jury only returned an indictment on the manslaughter charge.
McCracken pleaded guilty last September, leaving the judge Thursday free to sentence within the parameters of the charge.
"It is my stupidities that got me here, and I apologize," McCracken said during sentencing Thursday.
Charging documents stated that McCracken and Susan, which claimed they were in a relationship, had used meth together before engaging in "consensual" sexual activity the night of Ragan's death.
McCracken admitted to choking Susan for about 45 minutes, even stating he switched hands when one got tired.
His defense attorney, however, argued that McCracken and Susan were engaging in risky BDSM behavior, though the judge rejected that notion.
"Your honor has heard a lot of strangulation cases; you know how long that takes-- and the amount of pressure that has to be applied-- and the defendant, by his own admission, strangled Ms. Ragan for 45 minutes-- that's what he told the detectives-- and when asked did you think about that, he made a comment, he just said he was, in less kinder terms, he said he wasn't thinking about it, he was just f***ing," said the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, Christina Sherman.
"She loses consciousness and she stops moving and she urinates, and there's nothing there that indicates these two people were engaged in this consensual romantic BDSM lifestyle -- there's no evidence of that," Sherman continued.
Charging documents stated that hospital staff found signs that Susan had been strangled, including having blood in her ears and a bruise on her right ear.
"Standing here today, I look upon the last face that my sister ever saw," Susan's younger brother, Jack Ragan, said in testimony Thursday. "And I can see you-- even though you won't even look at me-- and I am sickened and I read the bail sheet and the autopsy report and the charging documents all describing the last moments of my sister's life, as the blood trickled from her ears and the life drained along with it. I hope the amount of meth he gave her put her in a euphoric high-- but your honor, we know that's not what happened."
Both Susan and McCracken were homeless, according to police, though, Jack claims that she was not dating McCracken but rather that she had a fiance and six children whom she loved dearly.
“I don’t believe that she was his girlfriend. I think you say and do things to be in certain situations, and if she needed to be safe in a tent … I don’t know. But I really believe that she loved her fiance and she loved her family and she loved her children,” said Jack back in 2016. “I just want to say I love you, Renee.”
Daniella Rivera contributed to this report.
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