Pair charged in violent Medford motel attack
A 73-year-old man remained hospitalized Thursday, and two suspects were in the Jackson County Jail in the wake of a violent attack in a Medford motel room.
Jake Cody Compton, 30, and Cera Janei Freier, 23, each face attempted murder charges and other allegations accusing them of beating and stabbing a man inside Harvey’s Motel, and holding him against his will in the motel bathroom for more than a day, according to a Medford police news release issued Wednesday.
At 7:58 a.m. March 5, staff at the motel on South Central Avenue dialed 911 after discovering the victim bleeding in a motel room bathtub, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” Budreau said, adding that if hotel staff didn’t find him when they did and call for help, “it’s likely he would’ve eventually succumbed to his injuries.”
Police believe that Compton attacked the victim March 3 after an “apparent dispute” in the hotel room, according to Budreau, and that Freier “stayed behind and guarded him from coming out.”
“Obviously the victim was suffering for quite some time, which is pretty concerning,” Budreau said.
On the morning of March 5, hotel staff got a tip that “something was amiss” and opened up the hotel room, which had been rented in Compton’s name, according to Budreau. Neither suspect was inside the motel room at the time.
Detectives found the man — identified as John Thomas Haynes in court documents filed by the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office — with “multiple stab wounds to the neck, as well as blunt force trauma injuries to the upper body,” according to Medford police.
Budreau said he was at the crime scene, and although the victim was no longer actively bleeding by the time first-responders arrived, “there was an enormous amount of blood that the victim had lost.”
The victim could handle commands such as “sit up,” but otherwise had limited consciousness.
In the past five days, however, Budreau said the victim’s prognosis is improving. The detective working the case told Budreau that the victim could be released from the hospital soon.
As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Haynes was still a patient at Rogue Regional Medical Center in fair condition, according to Asante spokeswoman Lauren Van Sickle.
It took days of investigation to piece together Compton and Freier as the suspects in the attack, and to track them down, according to Budreau.
Compton was arrested about 4 p.m. Tuesday after police made contact with him in the parking lot of the Econo Lodge on South Riverside Avenue.
Freier was arrested about 7:45 a.m. Thursday, after she allegedly returned to the scene of the crime.
In addition to the attempted second-degree murder charge, a grand jury indicted Compton Wednesday afternoon on a charge of first-degree assault accusing him of intentionally causing “serious physical injury” to Haynes with a knife.
Freier, in addition to her attempted second-degree murder charge, was indicted by the grand jury for attempted first-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping.
The basis of the attempted assault charge, according to Budreau, is that Freier allegedly considered finishing off the injured man during the more than a day that she prevented him from leaving the bathroom, but that Freier didn’t go through with the plan.
Jackson County Circuit Court records show that Freier has multiple felony convictions dating back to 2016 in cases that include heroin possession, identity theft and vehicle theft.
Compton has had several felony arrests, court records show, but no felony convictions in Jackson County.
In some cases, such as an arrest for assaulting a police officer, Compton was able to plead down to a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
In others, such as an alleged Feb. 13, 2018, robbery in Medford that involved a metal pipe, the Jackson County District Attorney’s office ultimately dropped the case because prosecutors were unable to get the alleged victim to cooperate with them.
According to a fugitive warrant filed in December, Compton is also wanted by the Sheriff’s Office in Sonoma County, California, for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon not a firearm.
As of Thursday evening, Compton was held in jail on $2 million bail and Freier was held without bail.
Reach reporter Nick Morgan at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.