A man who showed marked personal growth in the 21 months since he was caught with dealer quantities of methamphetamine in rural Josephine County was allowed to hug his daughter goodbye Wednesday before serving more than 13 years in an Oklahoma prison.
Royal Kurt Kruesi, 43, of Murphy was authorized Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Medford to serve his drug and firearms sentence at a facility in Oklahoma that offers a manufacturing vocational program. In July, Kruesi pleaded guilty to two counts of felon in possession of firearms and possessing greater than 50 grams of methamphetamine.
Kruesi has previously admitted that on Feb. 4 of last year, he crashed his Harley-Davidson motorcycle while attempting to elude police near Williams, where police found just shy of a pound and a half of crystal meth, three handguns, digital scales and $30,000 in cash, plus more weapons at his home, including a 12-gauge shotgun and a "bomb made from a fire extinguisher," according to court documents.
Speaking articulately in court Wednesday and showing a muscular frame not seen on his February 2016 jail booking photo, Kruesi told District Court Judge Ann Aiken that he believed a prison with a vocational program would be "the best thing for me," saying he hoped to build a work ethic and have an "industrious job" after prison.
Four family members, including his brother, ex-wife and middle school-age daughter, appeared at the hearing.
Court documents show Kruesi has multiple felony convictions dating back two decades, such as unlawful use of a weapon and first-degree burglary in 1997, first-degree theft in 2000, first-degree assault in 2003 and supplying contraband in 2012.
In court, Kruesi called that fact that he never pursued an education and his drug use "life-altering decisions." He said he's become a voracious reader during his time at the Jackson County Jail, saying he read the LexisNexus 2016 law guide available at the jail "cover to cover."
Aiken encouraged him to expand his reading list, either to philosophy or classic literature, and suggested he could perhaps test out of college classes upon release and further an education.
"These crimes are serious, but you're better than this," Aiken said.
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.