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Teen sentenced as adult in kidnapping cases

By Nick Morgan

Mail Tribune

A Medford teenager was sentenced Tuesday to more than seven years in prison after he admitted that he helped to attack and kidnap two men over drug debts.

Damian Elijah Brown, 17, pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to felony kidnapping and assault charges in two separate but similar cases. With good behavior, it's possible he could be released after 57 months, according to Deputy District Attorney Alyssa Claseman.

The plea agreement means Brown won't have to serve a minimum of 70 months under Measure 11 sentencing guidelines. 

Brown admitted he barged into Robert Schmoll's west Medford home Sept. 22, storming through the house in the 1800 block of Lillian Street past roommates and into Schmoll's bedroom while armed with baseball bats and a gun, according to Claseman. Police say he was joined by two others, Daniel Lynn Brown, 37, and Randy J. Bloom, 57. The three attempted to drag Schmoll into a van parked outside before neighbors intervened.

Schmoll attended the hearing but declined to speak. Schmoll was hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries after the attack, according to Medford police.

During Tuesday's hearing, Damian Brown also admitted to attacking 26-year-old Gregory Lawrence, allegedly with Daniel Brown, about three days prior to the attack on Schmoll. A third suspect in that attack, Miranda May McCafferty, 21, allegedly conspired with Damian and Daniel Brown. A warrant has been issued for McCafferty's arrest.

Both Schmoll and Lawrence have previous drug convictions, according to court records.

Damian Brown was able to avoid a Measure 11 minimum sentence because neither victim was a child and because Brown had no prior assault convictions, Claseman said during the hearing.

"We do hope he's able to turn his life around and learn," Claseman said.

Jason Caplan, Brown's court-appointed defense lawyer, described his client as "likable" and intelligent. "Environmental factors" and people surrounding Brown led to his bad decisions, Caplan said, though he didn't elaborate.

"It's incredibly sad," Caplan said. 

A "second look" hearing won't be held until Brown serves 57 months of his 85-month sentence, a condition of his plea agreement, according to Claseman. Such hearings typically are held at the halfway point when a minor is sentenced to longer than two years. 

Brown will be transported to a youth facility, and after he turns 18, it will be up to the Department of Corrections whether he'll go to an adult prison, Claseman said.

Daniel Brown has been in the Jackson County Jail since Oct. 4. He was arrested after a standoff while hiding in a self-storage unit on Crater Lake Highway. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of first-degree burglary, first- and second-degree kidnapping, second- and third-degree assault and conspiracy in the two cases. He has a trial date of Jan. 31.

When asked whether Damian and Daniel Brown are related, Claseman said she couldn't comment on an open investigation.

Bloom pleaded not guilty to felony charges of first-degree burglary, first- and second-degree kidnapping, second- and third-degree assault and conspiracy in the Schmoll case. Jackson County Circuit Court ordered Bloom released from the Jackson County Jail in November, and he has a trial date set for Jan. 31.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.