San Joaquin County
District Attorney's Office
OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY 222 E. Weber Ave., Room 202, Stockton, CA
P. O. Box 990, Stockton, CA 95201
T (209) 468-2400 | F (209) 465-0371
TORI VERBER SALAZAR District Attorney Scott A. Fichtner Assistant District Attorney Kristine M. Reed Assistant District Attorney James Bojko Chief Investigator
News from the Office of District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar
For Immediate Release
November 22, 2019
CONTACT: Tori Verber-Salazar, District Attorney
T: (209) 468-2400 | E:

Man sentenced today in brutal slaying of local Stockton man and stabbing of two others

Stockton - Today, District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar announced that Michael McPherson, age 33, was sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison for the brutal slaying of Elvin Rash,Sr., in downtown Stockton in the area of Hunter and Sonora Streets on February 9, 2019. He also stabbed and severely injured John Johnson and Randy Martel and was sentenced to life terms for their attempted murders to run concurrent to the murder sentence.

"A dangerous man has been sent to prison and our city is now the safer for it," said District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar. "Our community cannot and will not tolerate and leave unchecked this type of senseless violence."

According to court records, on February 9, 2017, at approximately 5:00 p.m. Michael McPherson encountered Elvin Rash, Sr., on Hunter Street in downtown Stockton and unprovoked, slashed him across the throat nearly decapitating him with a folding utility knife. After throwing the knife on a nearby roof, he went to purchase another knife and proceeded to slash the throat of John Johnson outside of Madison Market and immediately thereafter attacked Randy Martell at the Wells Fargo ATM on 303 N. El dorado Street in downtown Stockton.

Video surveillance at the Wells Fargo captured the crime and the Madison Market video surveillance placed the Mr. McPherson at the scene immediately preceding the attack. Nearby eye witnesses directed police to the direction which Mr. McPherson fled and Stockton Police were able to arrest Mr. McPherson without incident. A bloodstained knife was found in a flower pot next to him at the time of his arrest.

He was interviewed by Stockton Police detectives and admitted to committing these heinous crimes but claimed he was compelled to act from a drug induced paranoia. Mr. McPherson initially entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, but later withdrew the plea and entered a plea of guilty to all three counts in exchange for a 26 year to life sentence in state prison.

Elvin Rash, Sr., who was only 55 years young at the time of his death, is survived by a large and loving family. His daughter, who has been a pillar of strength and has diligently attended court appearance after court appearance for the past two and a half years, gave an impassioned victim impact statement in court today before the Honorable George Abdallah on the devastating loss she and her family have suffered:

On February 9,2017 you forever changed my life. You murdered my father Elvin Vernon Rash Sr. for no reason. On this day I was having lunch date with my oldest son, when I got a phone call from my cousin saying brenda you must not heard about what had happened. I said heard about what? your daddy what about my daddy they said he dead downtown with his throat cut open i then called my mother telling her to get downtown they said my daddy is dead momma please. I had no idea where it happened at until I arrived at the sense hurter and San Joaquin it was taped off with yellow tape and police officers and detectives. I ran over to see if it was really him they stopped me I pleaded and begged to let me see if that was him. … Later that night I received a call from the detective saying they got the person that did it. My only question was why. You had no reason as to why you killed him. The whole time up until they released him to the funeral home I was hoping it still was a mistaken identity. Until they released his body I had to go see for myself if it was really him. When I got down to the funeral home he had just arrived i just had to see him. … I asked them why his skin was so dry it was also from the loss of blood I had to run to the mall and get a hat because I wanted my dad to look sharp for one last time and he did my father wasn't a bad man at all he was a loving caring funny outgoing person who loved children and women… he was a ladies man. My dad's only downfall was he was addicted to drugs but my dad never robbed are steal from nobody he hustled for his habit. No, my father wasn't perfect but that was my daddy I will never hear him say how beautiful I am even when I didn't have my eyebrows on or I love you so much cause you my baby as he grab my cheeks (which I hated) or us cracking jokes or just having a heart to heart conversation, all those things I will never be able to do again. My mother taught me to love my dad unconditionally and that's what i did and i also made sure my kids had a relationship with my dad as well they was very closed they loved their Grandpa Rash deeply…

I have watched you every court date… you have stressed me out so bad…I was emotionally drained and physically drained to where when I would go outside I wear these shades to hide the dark rings around my eyes I didn't notice until one day my husband took me to the beach to relax he looked at me and said I haven't seen that smile in a long time I didn't realize how much I was dying in the inside cause I just couldn't understand why are even accept my daddy was gone…

Although the conviction and sentence of Mr. McPherson can in no way bring back Elvin Rash, District Attorney Salazar is grateful that the family can now focus on properly grieving and healing. This successful prosecution is a result of the excellent work of the Stockton Police officers who rapidly responded to three separate crime scenes in a short period of time. In particular, the work of Sergeant Wesley Grinder who was the lead detective in the case and special thanks to Victim Advocate Jessica Vanover who compassionately navigated the family through the intricacies of the court system.