MEDFORD, Ore. -- A murder trial is set to open in Medford for a man charged with killing a paroled sex offender.
Twenty-six-year-old David Michael Jurich is accused of bludgeoning to death 68-year-old David Evan Rice in an Ashland motel room in October 2004.
Jurich told detectives that he, quote, "went insane" when Rice "flashed" him and asked the younger man to lie down in bed with him. A judge later threw out the confession, ruling it came after Jurich asked for a lawyer.
His defense attorney has already notified the court of plans to introduce expert testimony showing that Jurich was suffering from an "extreme emotional disturbance."
If he can prove that, the murder charge will be reduced to manslaughter. ..more.. by Associated Press
Accused killer may plead insanity
Following Tuesday's graphic depiction of a paroled sex offender's Ashland death scene, the trial will continue today for the man accused of killing him.
David Michael Jurich, 26, alternately stared at his hands and glanced at photos of the body of 68-year-old David Evan Rice shown Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court. Jurich told police that he believed he struck Rice in the head with a metal bar on Oct. 29, 2004, when the older man "flashed" him and asked Jurich to lie down in bed with him.
In Tuesday's opening statement to jurors, Jurich's defense attorney Robert Abel, did not deny that his client killed Rice. However, he is arguing that Jurich suffered from an "extreme emotional disturbance" at the time of the slaying.
"The issue is not whether David Jurich is innocent," Abel told the court. "It's what crime is he guilty of."
If Abel proves the defense, Jurich will be convicted of first-degree manslaughter instead of murder. His punishment would be a mandatory 10 years, as opposed to murder's 25-year minimum sentence, before he would be eligible for parole.
Abel said Tuesday that expert witnesses would testify later in the trial to Jurich's mental state. Jurich also told police that he was drunk the night he shared a room with Rice at the Relax Inn on Clover Lane.
By the time Rice's body had been discovered, Jurich had fled the area. He was arrested four days later in Reno, Nev., and has since remained in custody at the Jackson County Jail and the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.
The trial is set to run through April 25 in Circuit Court. ..more.. by MailTribune
Victim's family sympathetic to killer
The family of a murdered sex offender say their hearts go out to the killer.
No one appeared on behalf of 68-year-old David Evan Rice at the Thursday sentencing of David Michael Jurich. Convicted Wednesday of Rice's 2004 murder, Jurich, 26, was sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court to life in prison with a minimum term of 25 years before he is eligible for parole.
Many of Rice's relatives suffered physical abuse at his hands, said former stepdaughter 45-year-old Lani Narducci, of Grand Junction, Colo., contacted by phone. Most were relieved to hear he had died, she said.
"I cannot grieve for this man," she said.
Narducci and Rice's granddaughter, 27-year-old Malaina Blickenstaff, of Tri-Cities, Wash., said they feel Jurich's sentence is too harsh, nearly characterizing the crime as a community service.
"As far as I'm concerned, he Jurich took a pedophile and a child molester off the streets," Blickenstaff said.
Imprisoned and paroled for sex crimes against young girls, Rice met Jurich in the county's work center. The two panhandled around Ashland and drank together. Jurich returned on Oct. 29, 2004, to a motel room on Clover Lane that he had rented with Rice's identification to find the older man in his bed. He bludgeoned Rice to death, hitting his head with a metal bar 20 to 30 times.
Although jurors rejected Jurich's testimony of suffering an "extreme emotional disturbance" when Rice sexually propositioned him, Narducci and Blickenstaff said they completely believe the story. Narducci said Rice goaded many people into just such a rage over the years.
"I can't say that I wouldn't have done the same," Blickenstaff said.
Jurich's father, 53-year-old Dave Jurich, of San Pedro, Calif., said Rice's family conveyed the same sentiments to him shortly after his son's arrest. Surprised at Wednesday's guilty verdict for which he says prosecutors failed to present a clear motive, Jurich said his son was a nice guy who was easily manipulated by a sexual predator.
"If it came down to the benefit of the doubt," he said, "who would you give it to?" ..more.. by SARAH LEMON