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Suspects charged in $35k Shady Cove statue theft

A Jackson County grand jury has charged four suspects with a felony charge on accusations they stole an eagle statue from a Shady Cove property and attempted to sell it to Seven Feathers Casino the following month.

Eric William Linton, 43, Kenneth D. Schurpf, 57, Michael James Murray, 55, and Kristina Kaye Henry, 45, were each charged with aggravated first-degree theft in the taking of a bronze, gold and silver statue valued at $35,000 from a property on Sawyer Road in Shady Cove, according to an indictment filed Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The statue was first reported stolen Oct. 9, according to documents filed by Jackson County sheriff’s deputies in Linton’s case, and at least three of the suspects allegedly tried to sell the statue for $40,000 at a Nov. 18 meeting with the Cow Creek tribe.

Ahead of the Seven Feathers meeting, the tribe worked with sheriff’s deputies to arrange a sting, according to court documents filed in the case, and police were able to recover the stolen statue.

Police cited Schurpf, Murray and Henney after the meeting with the tribe. During questioning, the three suspects allegedly implicated Linton in the October theft.

When Linton was arrested three days later, he allegedly made admissions to police about the theft and told police that he and Murray stole the statue under the cover of darkness.

Linton also claimed that the four suspects stole the statue for payment of work they did on the victim’s property; however, the victim told police she did not know any of the suspects.

Linton separately faces a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully possessing marijuana after police say they found about 2-1/2 pounds of marijuana — more than four times the 8-ounce limit under Oregon recreational marijuana laws.

Linton was booked in the Jackson County Jail Nov. 21 and released Tuesday on the charges after making his first court appearance. His next court appearance is set for Dec. 10.

Court records show Linton has prior felony convictions including possessing a Schedule II controlled substance in 2006, attempting to elude police in a vehicle in 2014 and possessing methamphetamine in 2017.

Court appearances have not been scheduled for the other three named suspects; however, records show that Murray was sentenced to a decade in prison on convictions for attempted aggravated murder, vehicle theft and criminal mischief convictions surrounding a 2005 rampage outside Rogue River that culminated in an officer-involved shooting .

On Feb. 20, 2005, Murray reportedly drove through several properties and fences with a Caterpillar log skidder in the area of Savage Creek Road, then later fired shotgun blasts at Jackson and Josephine County sheriffs deputies during a high-speed chase, according to Mail Tribune archives. A Josephine County deputy shot and wounded Murray in the incident. Court records show that Murray has not paid any portion of the $16,427 restitution in the 2006 conviction.

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