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Judge finds man guilty of manslaughter in Medford shooting

A Medford man could face a decade in prison in the shooting death of a sleeping Medford man.

Cody James Templeton, 26, was found guilty Friday of first-degree manslaughter following a bench trial in Jackson Count Circuit Court surrounding the January 2018 homicide of 39-year-old Thomas Allen Peterson at an east Medford apartment.

Judge Lisa Greif found Templeton not guilty of murder following the three-day bench trial, but guilty of the lesser homicide charge of first-degree manslaughter and sided with Jackson County prosecutors on enhancement facts in the case that include that Templeton was a dangerous offender and that the victim was vulnerable because Peterson was sleeping.

Deputy District Attorney Melissa LeRitz, one of two prosecutors in the homicide case, said the enhancement facts will give the judge greater leeway in sentencing the case. Under Oregon’s Measure 11 law, the crime of manslaughter in the first degree is a Class A felony that carries a mandatory minimum 10 year prison sentence.

Templeton waived his right to a jury trial, and his court appointed defense lawyer, Donald Scales, sought legal defenses arguing that mental illness played a role in the homicide and drew from Oregon State Hospital and other expert witness testimony, court filings show.

LeRitz said she had to keep some parts of the case under wraps ahead of the unscheduled sentencing hearing, but the dangerous offender enhancement stemmed from a personality disorder that Templeton had known as Substance Abuse Disorder. She described Substance Abuse Disorder as “under the umbrella of personality disorder” and that the disorder “contributed to the sequence of events that contributed to the crime.”

At shortly after 1:30 a.m. the morning of Jan. 27, 2018, Peterson was asleep staying at the apartment on Ellendale drive when Templeton shot him in the left side of his head, according to Medford police and an earlier news report. Peterson succumbed to his injuries at a Medford hospital after spending much of the day in critical condition.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Cody James Templeton, 26, was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter Friday for a homicide in which he shot a sleeping man in the head in early 2018. Jackson County Jail booking photo.