Yu Masaki enters guilty plea in Planet Fitness murder

Confession: 'I hate her ... she broke my heart'

In a voice barely audible, Yu Masaki entered two guilty pleas as he stood before 144th District Judge Angus McGinty on Monday.

Masaki admitted shooting Juan Escamilla, 31, to death and critically wounding Margaret McCombs.

Escamilla, who worked at Planet Fitness on Northeast Loop 410, was escorting McCombs, 25, to her car on the night of Jan. 9, 2012.

Police say McCombs had rejected Masaki’s advances and she was worried for her safety. She asked Escamilla to escort her from the club to the parking lot.

Outside the courtroom following the plea, Escamilla’s father, Pablo Escamilla, commented on his son’s actions.

“What he did that night was basically do what he would normally have done,” he said, referring to his son’s actions to protect the woman.

Masaki was waiting in his car and shot the pair as they got to the woman’s car.

In his confession, Masaki said, “I was shooting. I hate her. She broke my heart.”

Since Masaki entered what is called an “open plea," there is no plea bargain.

He is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison for Escamilla’s murder, and a maximum of 20 years in prison for shooting McCombs.

Masaki is not eligible for the death penalty, according to the law.

Escamilla said that would have been his choice.

“But the circumstances are as they are, and the law is the law, so the maximum is certainly what we would want,” Escamilla said.

McGinty will formally sentence Masaki in about a month, following a routine pre-sentencing investigation.

For a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.


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