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DA wants to try juvenile murder suspect as adult

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office wants to try the 17-year-old suspect in a recent Bear Creek Greenway murder case as an adult, according to a news release.

The 17-year-old was identified by Medford police Tuesday on Facebook as Levi Cole Murray of the 2100 block of Table Rock Road. The victim was identified as Richard Alan Rierson, 43, no known address.

Medford police responded at 1:07 p.m., Feb. 26, to reports of a death on the Greenway, near Railroad Park. Murray was arrested later that night at Ray’s Food Place in Phoenix and helped police locate the gun allegedly used in the killing, according to the Medford police Facebook post.

The gun was located in some brush about 100 yards from the murder scene, police said. The weapon had been reported stolen in October 2020, police said.

Murray allegedly “admitted to shooting (Rierson) over a rather minor dispute,” according to the police Facebook post.

The state has filed a motion to waive Murray to criminal court. Prior to the 2019 passage of Oregon Senate Bill 1008, Measure 11 felony cases such as murder involving juveniles aged 15 to 17 could be filed directly into criminal court without first having to go through the juvenile system, the release said.

SB 1008 eliminates mandatory adult prosecution for certain offenses committed when (the) person charged is 15, 16 or 17 years of age at time of offense. The law requires juvenile court, upon filing by the state of a motion requesting waiver hearing to hold a hearing to determine whether the person should be prosecuted as an adult, according to the bill summary, listed online at https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB1008.

The case is the first in Jackson County to have such a waiver hearing requested under the new law. The county’s juvenile court will set a date for that waiver hearing.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanpfeil.