Today a Marion County Grand Jury unanimously found that a Marion County Sheriff's Deputy was justified in using deadly force against Juan Martinez, age 35, on the afternoon of April 7, 2017 during a traffic stop at the intersection of Highway 99E and Boones Ferry Road near Woodburn, Oregon.
Sergeant Jason Hickam was cleared in the shooting that occurred after he stopped a Black Cadillac Escalade for traffic violations. Sergeant Hickam and an additional deputy, Sergeant Kevin Roberts, had brief contact with Martinez who was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle in the parking lot of a gas station. While both deputies were standing at the driver's side door, they informed Martinez that his vehicle must be towed due to lack of insurance. Martinez then started the vehicle and drove away from the scene while Sergeant Hickam's arm was caught inside. Sergeant Hickam fired one shot toward the vehicle and was then thrown to the ground. Martinez left the scene on Highway 99E.
Sergeant Hickam did sustain injuries during the incident. He was treated and released at Salem Health. Sergeant Roberts was unharmed.
The suspect, Juan Martinez, was located and arrested hours later in Wilsonville. He was uninjured. He has been lodged at the jail since that time.
The Grand Jury heard a full day of testimony from witnesses including detectives from the Oregon State Police and the Salem Police Department as well as the involved deputies and two civilian witnesses at the gas station. They further reviewed other evidence including surveillance video, photographic evidence and physical items from the scene.
The same Grand Jury that found the officer's actions to be justified indicted Juan Martinez for: Assault in the Second Degree, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer.
Martinez is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on April 19th at 8:30 a.m. at the Marion County Court Annex located at 4000 Aumsville Highway in Salem.
Due to the ongoing nature of this criminal case, the DA's Office will not release any further detail of the shooting or the crimes at this time.
On April 6, 2017, former Woodburn Assistant City Attorney, Jonathan Stuart, was found guilty of two counts of Public Indecency by the Honorable Susan Tripp following a trial to the court in Marion County Circuit Court.
These convictions resulted from two separate incidents that occurred during the fall of 2015, at the Woodburn City Hall. At that time, Stuart was employed as a Woodburn Assistant City Attorney and worked at that location. A member of the community contacted law enforcement regarding what they observed when they were parked across the street from City Hall. On more than one occasion this witness saw Stuart exposing his genitals to the public from the windows of his first floor office while he masturbated. The exposure occurred during normal business hours as members of the community were conducting daily activities in the surrounding area of City Hall. The witness was a mother accompanied by her three minor children, one of whom also saw the incident. The mother took video with her cell phone, which was later provided to law enforcement and presented at trial.
"Mr. Stuart's conduct was a shocking betrayal of not only the public's trust, but a violation of the high ethical standards we expect at City Hall," said Woodburn City Administrator Scott Derickson. "I'm very proud of our City staff and the courage of our community members who stepped forward to report this crime and helped convict Mr. Stuart. I want residents to know that the City will pursue all allegations of wrongdoing, regardless of who it might be, to the fullest extent of the law. Also, the City is appreciative of the Marion County District Attorney's Office for all the excellent work they did to hold Mr. Stuart accountable for his actions."
Stuart was taken into custody following trial and held without bail pending sentencing. He was sentenced on April 13, 2017, by the Honorable Courtland Geyer, to 30 days at the Marion County Jail and 60 months of supervised probation. One of the conditions of Stuart's probation is that he complete approved sex offender treatment at the direction of his probation officer.
Yesterday, before the Honorable Courtland Geyer, Sergio Silva was sentenced for a series of crimes that he committed against multiple victims between March 2016 and March 2017 in Woodburn, Oregon. The defendant pled guilty to two separate counts of Assault in the Second Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Assault in the Second Degree Constituting Domestic Violence, Robbery in the First Degree, and Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. In total, the defendant was sentenced to a combined 182 months (15 years, 2 months) in the Department of Corrections.
Woodburn Police Chief Jim Ferraris appreciated the efforts of the Marion County District Attorney's' Office in prosecuting Silva and securing a prison sentence.
"Dangerous offenders should be prosecuted and sentenced to the full extent of the law and that is exactly what happened in this case," he said. "Our residents are safer with this offender off the streets. As a department, we are thankful the DA's office felt the same way and made this a priority. Our officers did a great job investigating, and the DA's office did an excellent job prosecuting the case."
The Marion County Grand Jury convened yesterday, April 10, 2017, to hear testimony regarding the shooting death of Jorge Miranda-Rosa (21 years), and the injury to Roberto Miranda-Gomez (23 years), that occurred on January 29, 2017, on the 1300 block of Lancaster Drive NE in Salem. A thorough investigation conducted by the Salem Police Department determined that a confrontation occurred between the two men and a third pedestrian when Miranda-Rosa and Miranda-Gomez stopped their vehicle on Lancaster Drive NE. The two vehicle occupants were shot, resulting in the death of Miranda-Rosa and non-life-threatening injury to Miranda-Gomez. The involved pedestrian was eventually identified as Tobias Helms-Reese (23 years).
After hearing a full day of testimony from 10 witnesses, including law enforcement, civilian witnesses, and family of the involved parties, and reviewing evidence that included video surveillance, photographs, forensic testimony and autopsy results, the Grand Jury unanimously declined to charge Helms-Reese with any offense related to the death of Miranda-Rosa or the injury to Miranda-Gomez as they found that Helms-Reese was acting in self-defense under the laws of the State of Oregon. Specifically, Miranda-Rosa threatened Helms-Reese with a firearm, causing Helms-Reese to respond by shooting toward the vehicle occupied by the two men.
The grand jury applied to the following statute to the facts of this case.
ORS 161.219 states:
A person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person unless that person reasonably believes that the other person is committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the imminent use of physical force upon a person; or the other person is using or about to use deadly physical force against a person.
Helms-Reese was indicted on two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm for concealing a pistol on his person both the night of the shooting and at the time of his arrest 11 days later. Unlawful Possession of a Firearm is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of 365 days in Jail.
Helms-Reese's next appearance on those charges is set for April 17, 2017 at 1:30 at the Marion County Court Annex located at 4000 Aumsville Highway in Salem.
As there are still pending charges related to this matter, the District Attorney's Office cannot release further information at this time.
Today, before the Honorable Audrey J. Broyles, Edward Fitchett was sentenced for crimes related to concealing his deceased father's body, Conley Fitchett, in a freezer in December 2015 after and then collecting his father's government benefits for the ensuing 13 months. The defendant pled guilty to Abuse of a Corpse in the Second Degree and six counts of Theft in the First Degree. For the six counts of Theft in the First Degree, the Defendant was sentenced to a combined total of 84 months (7 years) in the Department of Corrections. For the Abuse of a Corpse in the Second Degree, the defendant was sentenced to six months in the Department of Corrections, concurrent to the sentences for theft.
The criminal investigation began on January 29, 2017, when family members contacted the Marion County Sheriff's Office to report Conley Fitchett as a missing person. An investigation conducted by the Marion County Sheriff's Office discovered that Conley Fitchett, who was living with and under the care of defendant, was last seen in December 2015. In December 2015, the defendant told neighbors and his wife that Conley Fitchett went to live with a different son in Eastern Oregon. Over the next 13 months, defendant collected over $2,000 per month in Social Security and PERS payments meant for Conley Fitchett. Detectives spent two weeks drafting search warrants, reviewing Conley Fitchett's financial records, and interviewing witnesses in an attempt to find Conley Fitchett. The defendant denied knowledge of Conley Fitchett's whereabouts throughout the investigation and changed his story of the circumstances of his father's disappearance, opting to say that his father left with a mystery girlfriend in August 2016. On February 15, 2016, a search warrant was executed on defendant's property by the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Conley Fitchett's body was found in a chest freezer, sealed in a vacuum sealable bag. The chest freezer was located in a small, freestanding shed adjacent to the defendant's home. An autopsy completed by the medical examiner's office determined that Conley Fitchett died of natural causes.