$145,000 restitution ordered in Wimer home invasion
A Gold Hill man who reportedly helped orchestrate a home invasion marijuana theft near Wimer in the winter of 2016 won’t face robbery charges, but will be among three defendants ordered to repay a six-figure sum to James Bowman.
The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday dismissed its remaining charge of second-degree robbery against Frank William Foremski, 37, for his role in a home invasion burglary outside Rogue River in which a team of at least six masked men stormed licensed marijuana grower James Bowman’s home, stripped Bowman of the bulk of his first-year crop and left Bowman beaten and tied up for hours, according to a documents filed in Jackson County Circuit Court by Deputy District Attorney Johan Pietila and earlier news reports.
At an April 2018 trial, Bowman testified he was tortured for more than two hours by the masked men on Dec. 16, 2016, describing how the men used a butane torch and a power drill, doused him with cold water among other methods in an effort to shake him down for cash.
No assault charges ever stuck against Foremski or convicted co-defendants Daniel Dougherty, Charles James Hatchett and Derrick Earl Shields and Edward A. Molet. Of those five men, Hatchett, Molet and Shields were the only co-defendants sentenced to prison, and Molet was the only one convicted of robbery.
Earlier this week, Foremski, Dougherty and Hatchett were each ordered to repay Bowman $145,111.17 in restitution, according to an order filed Wednesday by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia.
The ruling values the stolen 80 bins of marijuana at $105,500, along with $39,611 for his destroyed security system, phones and networking equipment and other electronics — not to mention repairs to Bowman’s stolen and recovered Subaru Outback and damaged bongs.
Mejia’s ruling shows that lawyers representing Foremski, Dougherty and Hatchett sought to discredit the legality of Bowman’s marijuana farm in an April hearing that led up to the ruling — an apparent effort to rule out the line item. The judge didn’t buy the argument.
“The bottom line is that the OLCC did allow the victim to sell the marijuana he had left after the robbery,” Mejia wrote Aug. 20.
Mejia, however, valued the marijuana at half the $1,000 per pound Bowman valued his crop, on grounds that Bowman’s marijuana had not yet been fully processed, packaged or weighed when it was stolen.
“This is perhaps too low a value, but the Court is quite confident that it was worth at least that,” Mejia wrote.
Mejia’s ruling denied Bowman’s request for $45,000 sought for dental implants, nor costs for cognitive therapy — details of which Bowman never provided the court.
When contacted Friday, Bowman described the outcome as adding insult to injury, adding that, “I literally had injuries.”
Bowman expressed gratitude to the police who investigated the case, but deep disappointment in prosecutors following Foremski’s sentence, and the apparent end to the 2-1/2 year criminal investigation.
Deputy District Attorney Johan Pietila previously stated that proving Dougherty and Foremski’s roles in the scheme would have been difficult to prove at trial.
Three remaining suspects — Leonta Flowers, Dennis Reynolds and Jody Deville Reynolds — have warrants for failing to appear in court on charges of charges of first-degree assault, first- and second-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and aggravated first-degree theft in the burglary, but none have scheduled court appearances.
Bowman said Foremski and Dougherty posed as marijuana investors who toured his farm prior to the robbery, yet they ended up with probation sentences.
“The DAs ought to be ashamed of themselves,” Bowman said, later adding, “(Foremski and Dougherty) destroyed my life, and they got off with next to no penalty.”
Foremski was the first suspect that Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives contacted, according to earlier news reports, after a phone left on Bowman’s property during the robbery showed text messages from Foremski.
The messages from Foremski’s phone had detailed info about the crime, such as instructions where to bring the U-Haul truck and requesting others cut security wires.
Foremski later cooperated with investigators, and testified against Shields in April 2018, during which a jury found Shields guilty of aggravated first-degree theft and burglary, but acquitted Shields on the assault and robbery charges.
After Dougherty’s sentence, Bowman said the robbery left him a changed man, costing him his home and four businesses the year after the robbery, and physically and mentally incapable of holding down a job because of his injuries and post-traumatic stress.
The robbery forced him out of the then-burgeoning legal marijuana industry, something he hopes to pursue in a $17 million civil lawsuit that’s still pending in Jackson County Circuit Court; however, Bowman said he’s unsure he’ll be able to afford to keep the lawsuit going without help.
Court records show the a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 16 in the civil case to evaluate Bowman’s requested damages, and a civil trial is currently scheduled for Jan. 14.