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Murder suspect was too drunk to remain silent, lawyer says

A Central Point woman accused of shooting and killing her husband last summer and attempting to flee the scene had blood alcohol levels nearly triple the legal limit when she was captured, and her lawyer says she was too drunk to remain silent.

Susan Marie King, 56, scheduled to stand trial next week in her husband’s homicide, was too intoxicated to waive her Miranda rights after her capture near the scene of the crime, her lawyer argued in court documents filed Aug. 10 in Jackson County Circuit Court.

A pair of tests showed King at close to triple Oregon’s legal driving limit the night of Aug. 17, 2017, when she was pulled over and arrested near her home on a drunken-driving charge and on suspicion of shooting 58-year-old Duane Levon King, according to documents filed by King’s court-appointed defense lawyer, Michael Bertholf.

A hospital blood draw yielded a 0.228 blood alcohol reading, and a separate blood alcohol test that occurred two hours after police took her into custody had a reading of 0.21, the court documents say.

Bertholf called it “remarkable the defendant’s even in a position to carry on a conversation.” The court filing seeks to exclude statements King made to police after her arrest because of “extreme intoxication.”

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office body-camera footage reportedly shows that King “barely understood what was happening,” Bertholf states.

A second detective reportedly ordered King to be transported to the hospital because of her high intoxication level.

The document states that after King was handcuffed and read her Miranda rights, a sheriff’s deputy reportedly asked her a question along the lines of “what did you do?” then captures her on a police body camera shrugging and making “some sort of smile-like gesture.”

The shooting was reported at 8:25 that night. Within eight minutes of the call, responders found King bleeding profusely in the doorway of a fifth-wheel travel trailer on the property in the 2800 block of Oakridge Avenue, according to earlier news reports and court documents.

King remains lodged in the Jackson County Jail on felony counts of murder and attempt to elude police in a vehicle, along with a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of intoxicants. A four-day trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 21, court records show.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Susan Marie King