By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Stephen McPherson, the high-tech massage parlor owner who humiliated Dallas vice officers after he caught them on tape disrobing and receiving X-rated massages from his employees, has been charged with first-degree murder after he allegedly shot and killed a man following a domestic dispute outside his Frisco home. Frisco police say that on February 25 Thomas White, the victim, and McPherson, had been arguing before shots were fired.
Last May, McPherson faced felony charges and a possible jail sentence after police infiltrated his seedy business in northwest Dallas. Posing as johns, undercover vice officers patronized the Acapulco Spa and discovered that several of the female employees entertained offers to turn massages into sex acts in exchange for wads of cash. After they were arrested, the women gave up McPherson, telling police that he witnessed their private sessions and instructed them on how to elude the law. On May 27, more than a week after they set their sights on the Acapulco Spa, vice officers arrested McPherson and charged him with aggravated promotion of prostitution.
But he had a trick up his sleeve. Worried that one of his employees might have been stealing from him, McPherson had planted hidden cameras inside the rooms of the Acapulco Spa that were hooked up by remote to his home computer. As a result, he accidentally captured Dallas' finest, stripped naked and receiving rather sprawling massages from the help. McPherson's women were rubbing their breasts on the officer's backs, grabbing their penises and beginning oral sex.
The Dallas Police Department launched an Internal Affairs investigation of the vice officer's behavior and reviewed McPherson's footage. They found that two officers involved in the arrests violated departmental policy, and each was disciplined. Meanwhile, in August a grand jury refused to indict McPherson.
Now with McPherson facing murder charges, the question is whether he should have even been a free man in the first place.
"For whatever reason, the grand jury declined to indict him," says Blake Withrow, who represented one of the spa employees arrested by vice officers. "I have no doubt the police would have liked to have his head on a wall, but the grand jury might have been afraid to prosecute him for opening up a can of worms larger than he was."