Sunday, May 14, 2006

Unanswered Questions

Gary Douglas George, 51, was found beaten to death in his house on NE 42nd on April 24, 2006. Police say they have no “focal suspect." The problem may be that there are too many suspects, or that there is an obvious suspect, but no way to connect them to the crime yet.

George had lived in the rundown house, the only residence in an industrial area, for at least 12 years. Police say they have been called to this house at least eight times since 1994. George reported that he was the victim of various crimes from assault to armed robbery. George himself was arrested for assault in 1998, but charges were dropped in that case.

The most recent incident at the house, may be connected to the murder, but if it is Detective Barry Renna, isn’t saying. On March 1 George reported being in a gunfight with his ex-girlfriend and her ex-husband. George and Treva Jane Richardson, 47, had been fighting since they broke up. He claimed she had taken his car and he refused to return her dog. Richardson had been calling all week threatening to kill George if he didn’t give back the dog.

On March 1 Richardson and her ex-husband, David Earl Hughes, 51, showed up at George’s house on NE 42nd. Richardson broke one of the front windows of the house and climbed in yelling, “I want my dog.”

George grabbed a gun and Hughes broke the other front window and began pouring gasoline into the house. "I'm going to burn your house," the district attorney’s affidavit quotes Hughes saying. "You really screwed up, Gary!" Hughes then fired a shotgun and George returned fire.

Richardson and Hughes fled the area, apparently without the dog. They were arrested nearby and police found an illegal sawed-off shotgun that belonged to Hughes. Richardson and Hughes were charged with attempted murder.

Hughes admitted firing the shotgun and pouring the gasoline. Richardson admitted breaking into the house with a toy gun. She also admitted taking the shotgun from Hughes to “make me look scarier.”

The Grand Jury did not indict the couple for attempted murder. "It was determined that he was not shooting at him," Norm Frink, chief deputy district attorney, said. "He was shooting, shall we say . . . for emphasis." The two were however indicted for several offenses including attempted arson, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, menacing, coercion and burglary.

Richardson remains in Multnomah County jail on $127,000 bail. She has a previous conviction for a drug offense in 1993. Hughes was released on March 22 on $202,000 bail. Hughes had no previous criminal record, but was arrested on Aril 22 on a Clackamas County forgery warrant. He was released on his own recognizance the next day.

The day after Hughes was released on the forgery charge, Gary George was found in a pool of blood in his rundown house. Police will not say if they have questioned Hughes in the murder. Hughes and Richardson aren’t talking.

There has been no news on this case for several weeks. The questions remain – unanswered.

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