Criado sentenced to life for each of five aggravated murder charges

A Medford man accused of murdering his wife and four children in July 2011 was sentenced to life in prison today in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Jordan Adam Criado, 52, entered an Alford plea March 20 on five counts of aggravated murder and one of first-degree arson. In an Alford plea, the defendant admits that sufficient evidence exists to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It has the same legal effect as a guilty plea, Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert said.

For each aggravated murder charge, Judge Lorenzo Mejia today sentenced him to a "true life sentence" with no possibility of parole. The arson charge carried an additional seven and a half years.

Prosecutors said Criado killed his 30-year-old wife, Tabasha Paige-Criado, and children Elijah, 7; Isaac, 6; Andrew, 5; and Aurora, 2; and then lit multiple fires in their Medford home on July 18, 2011.

"I have no doubt that's what happened," Mejia said.

In an emotional plea hearing last month, Criado admitted killing his wife, but denied murdering the children and said he didn't know if he set the home on fire.

In court today, he reiterated that the children were "my life" and claimed that Paige-Criado killed them.

"She was a broken woman," he said, claiming that she was mentally ill.

"I had no right to take her life," he said. "But I did not kill my babies."

Criado said he was the primary caretaker of the children, but was outside when they were killed.

"When they needed me the most, I wasn't there," he said.

Autopsies showed that Paige-Criado died of stab wounds to the neck and abdomen. She had no defensive wounds, so was likely surprised, investigators said. Andrew had potentially lethal stab wounds to his neck and lethal levels of carbon monoxide. Isaac had stab wounds on his neck that could have killed him, but probably suffocated. Elijah also suffered external stab wounds, but probably suffocated. Aurora had no external wounds, but appeared to have suffocated. All the children also had high, but probably non-lethal, levels of the sleep aid melatonin.

Criado repeatedly asked where God was and why God had allowed this to happen to his family.

"You dishonor the memory of how good a father you were and the memories of your children," Mejia told Criado in court today.

Mejia noted that Paige-Criado was leaving Criado for another man. Heckert described Criado as selfish, controlling and jealous.

— Sanne Specht

Read more in the Mail Tribune on Tuesday.

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