One killer goes to prison, the other to a mental hospital
Two mentally ill men were sentenced Tuesday on separate murders, one bound for the state's mental hospital, the other for prison.
Gary Patrick Hansen, 46, of Gold Hill, was committed to lifelong psychiatric supervision after pleading guilty except for insanity to the Dec. 9, 2004, murder of his neighbor, 79-year-old Richard E. Clearwater.
Refusing to claim insanity landed Anthony J. Clubb in prison for 10 years for slaying another mentally ill man last year. Clubb, 45, of the 400 block of Medford's North Grape Street, pleaded no contest in Jackson County Circuit Court to killing 45-year-old Jay Hueston Safley of Central Point on Sept. 11, 2005.
Hansen, who suffers from schizophrenia, thought he was working for the CIA when he slit Clearwater's throat and dumped him into the Rogue River, said Tim Barnack, deputy district attorney for JCounty.
"It was a senseless act," said Diana Hills, director of the county's Victim/Witness Services. She addressed Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia on behalf of Clearwater's children, who live in Nevada and Texas and were not able to attend the hearing. — "They never felt that Mr. Hansen was a threat to them," Hills said.
Mejia said it was clear from psychiatric reports that Hansen was "extremely delusional" at the time of the crime. Hansen mistakenly believed Clearwater was a sex offender and should be killed to protect children in the neighborhood, Barnack said. Both men lived in the 3000 block of Rogue River Highway.
Hansen told investigators he punched Clearwater in the head and then cut his throat with a pocket knife. He covered Clearwater's body with a tarp and placed it inside a boat parked on its trailer in the older man's front yard, Barnack said.
"He did this to him in broad daylight," Barnack said.
Hansen told detectives he was surprised Clearwater's body was still in the boat about a day later because he thought "a recovery team from the CIA was going to take care of the details," Barnack said. Hansen placed Clearwater's body in a wheelbarrow and dumped it in the Rogue River that night. The body was pulled from the river on Dec. 12, 2004, and Hansen was arrested that day after other neighbors reported Clearwater's disappearance.
Hansen apologized for the crime Tuesday. He and Clearwater weren't just neighbors but also had been friends, Mejia noted.
"That's certainly part of the tragedy here," Mejia said.
Mejia committed Hansen to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem. He will be evaluated by the state's Psychiatric Security Review Board and receive treatment, medication and instruction on managing his illness. Many such offenders eventually are released back into their communities.
Jay Safley had been released from Rogue Valley Medical Center's psychiatric ward about a day before he encountered Clubb at about 2:15 a.m. in an alley between Holly and Grape streets. Safley was stabbed seven times and his throat was cut, said Beth Heckert, chief deputy district attorney.
Police saw Clubb walking several blocks away from the murder scene and arrested him after he mentioned a stabbing had just taken place. Police seized a 6-inch-long knife that Clubb was carrying in his pants. Clubb, however, was incoherent and delusional when police later questioned him. His motive for the crime was never clear, Heckert said.
Clubb previously had been committed to the state hospital and is taking medication for mental illness, Heckert said. But his refusal to claim insanity was one of several obstacles that led her to negotiate Clubb's plea to first-degree manslaughter, Heckert added.
Detectives uncovered no forensic evidence &
8212; neither blood spatter nor fingerprints &
8212; linking Clubb to the case, Heckert said. However, Clubb corrected Heckert's version of the crime Tuesday in court, claiming he only stabbed Safley four times.
Circuit Judge Ray White ordered Clubb to spend the mandatory term of 10 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter. Clubb waived his right to appeal.
Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail .