The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly. This information; however, is subject to change and may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied upon for statistical or legal purposes.
MAHN, Jason James (W/M)
First Judicial Circuit, Escambia County Case# 93-1738 & 93-2193
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Frank Bell
Attorneys, Trial: F.T. Ratchford, Jr. & John L. Allbritton – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: W.C. McLain – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Donald Sheehan – Private
Date of Offense: 04/01/93
Date of Sentence: 02/23/94
Circumstances of Offense:
On 02/23/94, Jason James Mahn was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery. He was sentenced to death for both murders and 17 years for armed robbery.
In 1974, Mahn’s parents divorced in Wisconsin when Mahn was just a toddler. After the divorce, Mahn had no further contact with his father, Michael Mahn. When Mahn turned 18, he moved from Texas to Pensacola, Florida, to live with his father, his father’s long-time girlfriend, Debra Shanko, and her teenage son, Anthony Shanko. The intent of the move was for Mahn and his father to develop a father-son relationship.
On 04/01/93, Mahn’s father bought a car for Mahn, but later had to sell it because he could not afford to pay the car’s repair bills. After Mahn got off work that evening, the car was taken from Mahn and delivered to a new owner. At approximately 9:30 p.m., Mahn’s father left the house to go to the Carousel Lounge.
Mahn’s father returned home at approximately 1:00 a.m. on 04/02/93. He immediately noticed that Debra’s car was gone, the garage door was open, and the front door of the house was unlocked and slightly open. Mr. Mahn entered the house and discovered blood stains on the floor and walls, and Debra’s body lying across the hallway. Mr. Mahn found Anthony alive in his bedroom, but severely injured from multiple stab wounds. Anthony informed Mr. Mahn that Debra was dead and that it was Mahn who was responsible. As he was being placed in an ambulance, Anthony told a police officer that Mahn was his assailant. Anthony was immediately prepared for surgery at the hospital, but died of cardiac arrest. According to medical examiners, Anthony’s autopsy revealed six stab wounds, with one fatal blow to the chest. Debra, however, essentially bled to death.
Police arrested Mahn in Oklahoma and he confessed to the murders, explaining that he acted out of hate for and frustration with his father. Mahn also stated that he had used drugs at the time of the offenses. Mahn told police officers that the murders commenced around 11:00 p.m. that evening. He walked into Anthony’s bedroom and stabbed him with a kitchen knife. Debra rushed into the room as Anthony’s screams were heard and Mahn also stabbed her. Mahn attempted to flee in Mr. Mahn’s car, but could not find the keys. Debra, who was still alive, told Mahn to take her car and leave. Mahn fled in Debra’s car after smashing the window open. He took $400 with him that he found in her bank bag in a drawer.
Mahn was acquitted of two other charges, cruelty to animals and criminal mischief.
04/27/93 Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder (Debra Shanko)
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Anthony Shanko)
Count III: Armed Robbery
11/16/93 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment
11/17/93 Jury recommended death by a vote of 8-4
02/23/94 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count II: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count III: Armed Robbery – 17 years
02/22/02 Trial court found Mahn incompetent to proceed
04/22/04 Competency hearing held and Mahn still found incompetent to proceed with trial
03/30/05 Mahn was found competent to proceed
01/23/07 Trial court found Mahn incompetent to proceed trial
09/01/10 Mahn’s sentence was reduced to life imprisonment without eligibility of parole for 25 years for Counts I and II.
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
714 So. 2d 391 (1998)
03/28/94 Appeal filed
04/16/98 FSC affirmed convictions but remanded with directions that his sentence for Debra Shanko’s murder be reduced to life without eligibility for parole for 25 years. For the murder of Anthony Shanko, the FSC reversed and remanded for a new penalty phase proceeding before a new jury.
05/01/98 Motion for rehearing filed
07/15/98 Rehearing denied
08/14/98 Mandate issued
First District Court of Appeals – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
733 So. 2d 520
03/29/99 Petition filed
05/13/99 Petition denied
State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion
12/17/99 Motion filed
09/01/10 Sentence vacated; resentenced to life imprisonment with mandatory minimum of 25 years
Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence:
It took over four years for the Florida Supreme Court to render a decision on the direct appeal and the case was remanded for resentencing.
While Mahn’s 3.850 Motion was pending, Mahn filed a motion for examination of mental competency on 09/01/00. It took nearly four years for the Circuit Court to render Mahn incompetent to proceed. On 04/22/04, a competence hearing was held and Mahn was still found incompetent to proceed with the trial. Mahn was found competent approximately one year later on 03/30/05. There has been no action taken since Mahn’s filing for mental competency evaluation.
On 01/23/07, the lower court found Mahn incompetent to proceed at trial.
On 03/28/94, Mahn filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. Mahn raised 12 issues. First, he claimed the trial court erred in permitting restraint of the appellant during portions of the trial by use of a remotely activated electric stun device. Second, Mahn argued the trial court erred in submitting the charge of robbery to the jury based on insufficient evidence. Third, he claimed the trial court erred in finding that the murders were cold, calculated, and premeditated. Fourth, he claimed the trial court erred in finding the murders heinous, atrocious, or cruel. Fifth, Mahn argued the trial court erred in relying on appellant’s 1992 prior robbery conviction to support the “prior violent felony” aggravating circumstance. Sixth, he claimed the trial court erred in rejecting as statutory mitigators that the appellant suffered from an extreme mental or emotional disturbance at the time of the murders and that the appellant’s capacity to appreciate the criminality of his acts was substantially impaired. Seventh, Mahn argued the trial court erred in failing to give sufficient weight to the appellant’s mental problems as a nonstatutory, mitigating circumstance. Eighth, he claimed the trial court erred in rejecting appellant’s drug and alcohol abuse as a nonstatutory, mitigating circumstance. Ninth, Mahn argued the trial court erred in rejecting appellant’s age of 20 years old as a statutory or nonstatutory circumstance. Tenth, he argued the trial court erred in overriding the jury’s recommendation of a life sentence for the murder of Debra Shanko. Eleventh, Mahn claimed the death sentence is a disproportionate penalty in this case. Finally, Mahn claimed the trial court erred in giving the standard jury instruction to define the heinous, atrocious, or cruel aggravating circumstance. On 04/16/98, the Court affirmed Mahn’s first-degree murder convictions, but remanded for a new trial for resentencing.
On Direct Appeal, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed Mahn’s first-degree murder convictions, but remanded the case with directions that his sentence for Debra Shanko’s murder be reduced to a life sentence with eligibility for parole for 25 years. As for the murder of Anthony Shanko, the Court reversed the sentence and remanded the case for a new penalty-phase proceeding before a new jury. The Court also reversed Mahn’s armed robbery conviction and remanded the case to the trial court with directions to enter a judgment of conviction for grand theft on that count and to sentence Mahn accordingly.
Mahn filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the 1st District Court of Appeals on 03/29/99, which was denied on 05/13/99.
On 12/17/99, Mahn filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court. On 09/01/10, Mahn was resentenced to life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of 25 years on Counts I and II.
DATE DAYS VIOLATION LOCATION
-------- ----- ---------------- -------------------
07/19/98 0 DISORDERLY CONDUCT UNION C. I.
07/22/98 0 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
08/20/00 360 ARSON OR ATTEMPT UNION C. I.
08/20/00 60 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
09/14/00 30 FIGHTING UNION C. I.
09/15/00 60 DISORDERLY CONDUCT UNION C. I.
09/23/00 60 DISORDERLY CONDUCT UNION C. I.
09/28/00 180 UNARMED ASSAULT UNION C. I.
09/29/00 60 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
10/02/00 60 DISORDERLY CONDUCT UNION C. I.
10/06/00 60 DISORDERLY CONDUCT UNION C. I.
10/10/00 90 SPOKEN THREATS UNION C. I.
10/10/00 30 DEFACING STATE PROP. UNION C. I.
11/17/00 37 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
11/25/00 0 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
11/26/00 0 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
11/27/00 0 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
12/01/00 0 POSS OF WEAPONS UNION C. I.
01/24/01 0 FAIL.PERSONAL HYG. UNION C. I.
02/22/01 0 FAILURE TO COMPLY UNION C. I.
03/09/01 0 DISORDERLY CONDUCT UNION C. I.
03/09/01 0 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
03/12/01 60 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
03/12/01 60 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
03/14/01 180 DEST. OF ST. PROP. UNION C. I.
05/09/01 0 DISORDERLY CONDUCT UNION C. I.
06/11/01 0 ASSAULTS OR ATTEMPT UNION C. I.
07/13/01 0 FAILURE TO COMPLY UNION C. I.
01/06/02 180 UNARMED ASSAULT UNION C. I.
03/07/02 0 DISORDERLY CONDUCT UNION C. I.
Report Date: 11/18/04 NRC
Approved: 11/18/04 JFL
Updated: 09/09/10 EMJ