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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Police call apartment fire death a homicide

You have to read the second and third stories below CAREFULLY to figure out who did what to whom...
11-4-2006 Oregon:

The death of a man found inside a burning apartment this week has been ruled a homicide, Eugene police said Friday.

Investigators identified the victim as 21-year-old Noah Paul Scott Thacker of Eugene.

A neighbor investigating smoke found Thacker's body inside an apartment at 1121 Washington St. about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

An arson fire had been set inside the apartment, acting Capt. Ron Roberts said Friday at a news conference.

"We're confident that this fire was intentionally set," he said.

Thacker did not live at the apartment but was known to visit, Roberts said. He was one of a number of people who frequented the address.

No one had been arrested or detained in the case as of Friday. But investigators were following up on leads, Roberts said.

advertisement Police released few additional details of the crime and withheld the details of Thacker's death. They also declined to discuss how the fire was set and whether Thacker was dead when the blaze started.

"Mr. Thacker ended up at that residence for some reason, and while he was there, he died," Roberts said.

Detectives urged anyone with information about Thacker's activities in the days before his death to call the Eugene police crime tip line at 682-8888.

Becky Scunziano, 27, discovered the fire and called 911. In a telephone interview Friday, she said she was in her apartment when she smelled smoke.

She said she knocked on the door of apartment No. 3 and turned the knob when no one responded.

"I opened the door and a big black cloud of smoke just billowed out," she said. "I saw something in the distance but I didn't know what it was until I put two and two together later."

She now realizes that she saw Thacker's body inside the unit, she said.

Scunziano phoned for help, then ran to the other apartments and alerted her neighbors to the blaze. She and the other tenants were allowed to return to their homes on Friday.

The man who rents the burned apartment was subleasing it to a friend, Scunziano said. She said she often saw young men coming and going from the unit, but had never met Thacker.

Little information was available about Thacker on Friday. Court records show that he was convicted as a juvenile in Jackson County of sodomy and sexual abuse in 2000, in a case involving a female minor. Thacker was 15 when he was convicted.

He was charged in Lane County in June for failing to register as a sex offender after he changed addresses and did not notify officials as required by law.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and four months' probation. ..more.. by Rebecca Nolan


Slashing victim expected to testify.

1-5-2010 Oregon:

A Lane County jury heard opening statements Monday in a case that might have been ripped from a "Law and Order" script.

Prosecutor David Schwartz told jurors in the aggravated attempted murder trial of Shawn Richard Monro to expect testimony about Monro and two other gang members slitting the throat of a drug dealer and leaving him for dead in his Sheldon area home on Halloween of 2006. He told the panel they would hear the victim - who somehow survived - describe feeling the knife blade slicing across his neck.

The prosecutor charged that Monro later told friends that "he cut first," then had the others do the same "so all were culpable and no one would talk to the police."

Monro, 27, faces 35 felony counts ranging from attempted murder and assault to armed robbery and identity theft. "His gang name is 'Drama,' " the deputy Lane County district attorney told jurors. He said Monro, an Alaska resident who used to live here, was affiliated with the "Westside Gangsters."

Schwartz used a whiteboard timeline to map out what he called a "crime spree" by Monro after he arrived back in Oregon in the fall of 2006.

Sixty witnesses possible

The prosecutor warned the panel that many of the 60 witnesses to be called for the two-week trial are convicted criminals, some coming from prisons to testify. He alleged that witness testimony and physical evidence would show that:

Monro used a hammer to assault and rob a Portland area drug dealer on Oct. 25, 2006.

Two days later, Munro and co-defendant Scott Alan Hover Johnson used a stolen .357 revolver to steal drugs, a truck and a shotgun from a Eugene medical marijuana patient.

Another two days later, they used the same revolver to rob a West 11th Avenue deli and video poker business.

Monro teamed up with "Gangsta Disciples" members Michael Anthony Vaughan and Noah Paul Scott Thacker to torture and assault the Eugene drug dealer because they wrongly assumed that he had lots of cash in his Willona Drive home, a few blocks from Cal Young Middle School. The Register- Guard does not typically identify crime victims.

Vaughan the next day fatally shot Thacker in the head as he slept on a couch in Vaughan's West 11th Avenue apartment. Vaughan also pleaded guilty to arson for setting fire to Thacker's body and the apartment in an attempt to conceal the shooting.

Vaughan is serving a 40-year prison term for that murder and for his role in the throat-slitting.

Johnson also was scheduled for trial this month, but apparently entered a plea... ..Source.. by Byline: Karen McCowan The Register-Guard


Victim recounts horrific slashing

1-8-2010 Oregon:

A Lane County jury sat rapt Thursday morning as a 29-year-old Eugene man recounted masked intruders hoisting him upside down and slitting his throat three times in the early hours of Oct. 31, 2006.

“The (initial) cut came from my left to my right,” the victim said in the trial of Shawn Richard Monro, 27. “It was slow at first, grabbing onto my skin and then it went across.”

Monro faces attempted murder charges in that assault as part of a 35-count felony indictment for what prosecutors call a gang-related crime spree.

Speaking in calm, articulate fashion, the victim told jurors he felt an unexpected rush of tranquility after the first cut, even as he also felt his warm blood flow from the wound and down the left side of his inverted face.

“I thought it was all over,” he said. “I thought I was going to die. My body became limp. It was like I was accepting it.”

He then felt “two fingers being put into the wound, like they were trying to bleed me out or something,” the victim said. He said he remembers feeling two more slashes.

“It was like a process,” he said, with the second and third slices “following the same path ... trying to cut it deeper.”

After each cut, he again felt someone “checking inside my throat to see if I was still alive,” he said. “I’m sure they thought I was dead — that’s why they left me there.”

The Register-Guard does not typically identify crime victims.

Prosecutor David Schwartz alleges that Monro led two other men — Michael Anthony Vaughan and Noah Paul Scott Thacker — in the botched murder attempt. Thacker reportedly became so agitated upon learning their attack had failed that Vaughan shot him in the back of the head Nov. 1, 2006, to prevent him from implicating the others.

Vaughan is serving a life prison term after pleading guilty to murdering Thacker and to participating in the throat-slashing.

The throat-slashing victim, who has since been convicted in federal court of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, said his assailants broke into his Sheldon area home seeking cash drug proceeds.

“They kept saying they wanted the money, where’s the money,” the man testified. “But I didn’t have a stash of cash. I had a bank account.”

He said he’d been asleep for hours when at least two intruders broke down his locked bedroom door, flipped him face down on his bed, and tightly bound his arms and legs with television cable and an electrical cord.

He said he could hear voices elsewhere in his rented home and smell freshly cut marijuana as others removed 30 to 50 plants he had growing in a bedroom and his garage. Some of the intruders struck him with the butt of a shotgun and with a steam iron, he said, demanding his identification, ATM pin number and the location of entrances to his attic and crawl space.

At one point they demanded that he sing the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” then laughed as he did so, the man said. Finally, they asked if he believed in God.

“I said I did, and they told me, ‘You’re going straight to hell,’ ” the man said. That’s when what felt like two men hoisted him up and held him upside down beside his bed, he said.

The victim said he never lost consciousness throughout the attack. After his assailants left him for dead, he said, he grabbed a towel to his throat, hopped to his kitchen, used a knife there to cut his legs free, and went to the home of a neighbor, who drove him to the hospital.

In another bit of surreal testimony, the man said an emergency room receptionist didn’t initially realize how seriously he was hurt because his wound was obscured.

“She said ‘Fill these papers out and have a seat,’” the victim said. “I took the towel down, and she’s like, ‘Get back here,’” motioning him to an area where he could immediately see a doctor.

Under questioning by Monro’s defense attorney, the drug dealer said he never saw the faces of the men who cut his throat. The intruders wore masks when they burst into his bedroom, he said, they bound him so that he lay face down, and they “pushed cloth in my face” before hoisting him and cutting his throat.

All he could see, the victim said, was one assailant wearing a pair of white Nikes and the other wearing a pair of black Air Jordans.

Monro’s trial is expected to continue through next week. ..Source.. by Karen McCowan, The Register-Guard

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