A Jackson County grand jury on Thursday took less than three minutes to indict a former Marine on Measure 11 murder charges in the death of his wife.
Bourne Huddleston, a 43-year-old retired gunnery sergeant, is being held in the Jackson County Jail without bail on six counts related to the death of Kristy Huddleston, a nurse care manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs' Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics in White City.
The state alleges Huddleston killed his 34-year-old wife, who died of a single gunshot wound to the head from a firearm equipped with a silencer, said prosecuting attorney David Hoppe.
The evidence also shows Huddleston tried to hire a man to kill his wife, Hoppe said.
The jury heard about an hour of testimony from a number of witnesses, including Michael Yorrie, who testified Huddleston attempted to hire him to kill his wife about five months ago, Hoppe said.
Hoppe declined to elaborate on Yorrie's testimony, or that of another civilian witness. But their statements, along with those of police investigators and state forensic experts, persuaded the jury to hand down its indictment against Huddleston for murder, attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder, soliciting aggravated murder, soliciting murder and possession of a silencer, Hoppe said.
"The investigation is ongoing," Hoppe said. A preliminary hearing has been set for April 16.
Police and Jackson County Fire District No. 5 responded to the Huddlestons' rural home at 6645 Pioneer Road after a 9-1-1 call reported Kristy Huddleston bleeding at 2:10 a.m. March 23. Police tracked Bourne Huddleston to an Eagle Point residence where he was arrested without incident.
The couple's 10-year-old son was in the Pioneer Road home at the time of the shooting. Neighbors have said they did not hear any gunshots.
According to information obtained from a probable cause affidavit filed by the District Attorney's Office, Huddleston's "actions do not fit his version of events." Huddleston told police he was in the bedroom at their Pioneer Road home when Kristy Huddleston shot herself in the head in front of him.
A brief summary describes Huddleston's assertions: "Suspect admits to rendering no first aid, washing her hands as well as his own, leaving the residence without calling 9-1-1, leaving his 10-year-old son in the residence, taking the weapon from the scene, disassembling the gun and throwing part of it out the window of his truck near White City, and placing part of it in bushes at an address in Eagle Point." The weapon was "believed to be a Sigma 9 mm," the affidavit states.
The affidavit also notes that the child "was interviewed & places suspect at the scene and driving away immediately after incident."
The child is currently living with Kristy Huddleston's mother, Hoppe said.
Hoppe said the Measure 11 murder charge and weapons charge are related to Bourne Huddleston's alleged shooting of his wife. The Measure 11 attempted murder and attempted aggravated murder, as well as both soliciting charges, are related to the "murder-for-hire type scenario" where Huddleston allegedly attempted to hire Yorrie to kill his wife, Hoppe said.
Case law allows the state to seek consecutive time on the Measure 11 charges should Huddleston be convicted, he said.
Huddleston served in the U.S. Marine Corps from November 1988 to August 2009. He worked as an aircraft mechanic, martial arts instructor and recruiter. He served four tours in the Middle East, including two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
Huddleston is being represented by Michael Bertholf, a public defender.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.