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News Release
Statement From Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton Regarding State v Jeremiah Johnston - 12/04/19

HILLSBORO, Ore.- The following is a statement from District Attorney Kevin Barton regarding the impact of Senate Bill 1013 on the State v Jeremiah Johnston case and future Washington County cases:

I am hopeful that the resolution of this case brings some amount of closure to the family of Sara Zghoul. 

Jeremiah Johnston committed a horrific and brutal murder of a young Washington County mother and his continued refusal to provide her family with the location of the rest of her body speaks to his level of depravity and his lack of remorse.

While the knowledge that her killer will never be free may provide some finality for Sara’s family, the ongoing flaws in Oregon’s new murder laws provide no such finality for the families of other crime victims or our community as a whole. 

The decision to weaken Oregon’s murder laws by replacing them with poorly drafted substitutes that apply retroactively directly hampers our ability to prosecute murders.  While the rushed passage and enactment of SB 1013 was an end-run around the express will of Oregon’s voters and extraordinarily disappointing, the refusal to convene a special legislative session to fix the known problems created by SB 1013 is entirely inexcusable.  Crime victims, their families and our communities deserve a system that prioritizes the safety of Oregonians over the goals of special interest groups.

Looking forward, I am hopeful the legislature will not rush future changes to our criminal laws without full consideration and will work with prosecutors to fix the problems in SB 1013.

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