Monday, March 05, 2007

Too Many Questions Still Unanswered

David Earl Hughes was shot to death by the police in November of 2006 in southwest Portland. Hughes pled no contest to burglary, possession of an illegal firearm and arson and was scheduled to be sentenced on November 7. Out on bail in the days before his sentencing, Hughes told his neighbors that he would run rather than face up to five years in prison. He said he would rather die.

2006 was a year with several high-profile police shootings in Portland and the surrounding area. Several times this year we have had major press coverage and public review hearings on police shootings. In the case of David Hughes we had two Oregonian articles and mostly silence from official sources.

The charges that Hughes was to be sentenced on stemmed from an argument involving his ex-wife Treva Richardson and Gary George. The argument involved a car and a dog. Some new information that has come to light makes the argument even more bizarre – the car that Treva and George were fighting over belonged to David Hughes.

According to an old friend of David’s, who spoke with him shortly after the confrontation in March 2006, Treva had been out of David’s life for several years, but somehow they met up again at a vulnerable time for David. He had recently been divorced and then his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Drug abuse seems to be the main thread running through this whole story. David had been a drug user before marrying his second wife in the 1980s. After getting clean from drugs David continued to abuse alcohol. During their separation Treva had become addicted to methamphetamine and both of their children had become addicts as well. David and Mary Hughes saw David’s son through rehab in 2002.

Treva also seems to have gotten herself into a dangerous situation. She was now living in a “biker compound” on NE 42nd. This was the house of Gary George. The Oregonian says that Treva was George’s girlfriend.

Treva allegedly stole the car from David. Gary George put his own name on the title and David stole it back. The only other crime that David was accused of was a forgery charge, for putting his name back onto the title of his own car. This started the fight over the car.

David began using methamphetamine and isolated himself into a small group of drug addicts that called themselves the “happy family.” One rumor says that David had suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with congestive heart-failure. The rumor is that he decided at that point he would live his life as he wanted to, regardless of who he hurt.

David’s ex-wife says that he was always fascinated by weapons. One rumor is that he began buying drugs and weapons from the Russian mafia in Vancouver. I’m pretty sure that the Russian mafia has a presence in both Vancouver and Portland, I’m not so sure that David was involved with them. I think there was a dangerous crime organization that was much more convenient.

This brings us back to Gary George. Who was he? And who killed him?

I guess we have an answer to the second question. Bobby Donald Barnes is in jail charged with aggravated murder and associated crimes. Barnes, a registered sex offender on parole for prostitution and rape, was arrested on April 24, 2006 on a warrant for a parole violation. He was picked up at a house in northeast Portland a couple of miles from George’s home.

While Barnes was in custody detectives were called to George’s home. They found Gary George in a pool of blood, beaten to death. Guns, a laptop computer and knives were stolen from the home. Two unnamed people claim to have driven Barnes to George’s house before the killing. Police also say they have DNA evidence linking Barnes to the killing. If they have all this evidence, why has Barnes not been convicted?

Because he hasn’t been brought to trial. Chief Deputy District Attorney Norm Frink says it is “unclear if there will be a trial.” He said that in December. Since then he hasn’t said anything. The only way I know about the information in the last paragraph is from a tiny little story in the Oregonian that I managed to find because I have become obsessed with this case.

So that’s what the police want us to think is the answer to who killed Gary George. Maybe they’re right. The only way we’ll know is when a jury decides. Until then, let’s see what we can do with the first question: Who was Gary George?

His family is quiet. One relative, a niece I think, was married on the same day Gary died. She has her grief to deal with and she is not saying anything about her uncle or his activities. The detectives told her that Gary was killed because of a “drug deal gone bad.” I was almost ready to believe that, until I found the story in the wrap-up of Portland murders in 2006. The police give a whole list of things stolen from George’s home, but drugs are not mentioned.

Some people think David Hughes was getting drugs and weapons from Gary, but David Hughes apparently believed that Gary George was a cop. Could Gary George have been working undercover?

I don’t know the answer to that and maybe I don’t really want to know. There are some suspicious circumstances though. Gary George had a minor record, a charge of 4th degree assault that was dropped in 1998. George was armed and he was not shy about defending himself, evidenced by the confrontation between Gary, David and Treva in March. Eight times between 1998 and 2005 police were called to Gary’s house because he had been the victim of some kind of crime.

After the confrontation in March, David and Treva were able to drive only two or three blocks before being apprehended by the police. Gary lived in an industrial district that is pretty empty day or night. His house was the only residence within blocks. Gary George got very fast and efficient police response in a pretty isolated area.

This certainly isn’t evidence that Gary George was an undercover cop. David Hughes had become very paranoid from isolation and drug use, so what he believed is highly questionable. Yet a cloud of mystery still hangs over the whole story. Things are not happening in the usual way and everyone is very reluctant to talk about it. Too many questions are still unanswered.

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Blogger nicole said...

I believe your story about Bobby Barnes is my father and i would like to get in contact with jd chandler as to I have so questions. please contact me. Thank You.
Nicole Barnes

8:59 PM  
Blogger jd chandler said...


i would love to hear from you. please email me at

i am very interested in hearing from you and helping any way i can.

10:13 PM  
Blogger cindy said...

I worked for and knew Gary George. He was a very excentric person and had a good heart. He would help anyone that needed help and tried very hard to be a good person. He was a very intelligent man and was very interested in doing strange peices of art work. His house was full of art peices that he had done, figurines, and such. I always thought he had a meth problem but was never made aware of it in person as he never displayed it to me. I always found him to be very generous and caring to me. I was very upset to hear about his murder and am glad to see that someone has been arrested for it. I hope that justice will be done.

9:19 AM  
Blogger will o' the wisp said...

I don't believe there was a conspiracy. Gary was not nor ever had been a cop. He was someone who was not emotionally healthy due to childhood trauma; took prescription medications for constant pain from rhuematoid arthritis and for anxiety and OCD. He was generous, cruel, secretive, vengeful, vulnerable, thoughtful, deceitful, eccentric and arrogant. In his arrogance, he perceived his actions to always be just and righteous. His generosity was taken advantage of by others who misunderstood that he craved acceptance. He was a partner in a successful commercial trucking business who had enjoyed respect among his peers. After his partner retired, they dissolved the business and divided the assets. Gary sought other avenues to create an identity that would lead to a high standing and acceptance of him. He developed an interest in the mountain man community, collected the accessories and attended the events. Later, he got a motorcycle and that opened up a bigger world for him. He became enamoured with the romanticized myth of biker brotherhood. He changed his look by growing long hair, a beard, adding tattoos, and wearing thick rimmed biker style glasses. He opened an elaborate motorcycle accessories, building and repair shop on the same property he had operated the trucking company on. He enjoyed interacting with his customers who came from every walk of life although most found his eccentricity a bit more than they wanted to interract with. He would sometimes hand out $50 and $100 bills for what seemed to be no reason but was his own test of the character of others. He started using methamphetamine and it further empowered his ego. He became so obsessed with the feeling the drug gave him that it ruled his every waking hour but it would eventually do what meth does best and terrorize him by empowering his fears and torturing his body with weight loss and debilitating sores on his legs. He was a man blinded by his ambition to be recognized as the best of the persona he desperately tried to create.

12:13 AM  

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