Suspect arrested in Bear Creek Greenway homicide
In the span of a week, Medford police have gone from an unidentified body to a suspect in custody on a murder charge.
Richard Kemo John Hall, 43, was arrested Thursday night on second-degree murder and abuse of a corpse charges accusing him of killing 46-year-old Aaron Michael Mather last month and burying his body off the Bear Creek Greenway, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.
Police’s “major starting point“ was confirming Mather’s identity Tuesday during an autopsy, Budreau said.
Hall’s name came up as a person of interest through detectives’ interviews with campers.
Police encountered Hall at 12:25 p.m. Wednesday north of Railroad Park along the Greenway, but getting close was difficult, according to Budreau, because Hall had “a large stick.”
“He was swinging around this stick in an aggressive manner,” he said.
The detective called for backup, and officers ultimately arrested him after a short foot pursuit on a warrant for failing to appear in court on a previous trespassing charge.
Jackson County Jail and Jackson County Circuit Court records show Hall was additionally arrested Wednesday on a felony coercion charge and misdemeanor domestic violence charges surrounding a different victim in March.
Police arrested Hall on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree abuse of a corpse in Mather’s homicide about 8 p.m. Thursday after questioning him at the jail.
Budreau said detectives working the case are still determining an exact time of death, but police believe that Mather was killed between Feb. 8 and 23.
Police believe that Hall developed a plan to murder Mather for reasons that police and prosecutors are keeping under wraps, but detectives believe that Hall and Mather were acquaintances prior to the homicide.
Hall allegedly killed Mather after he struck him in the head using “a weapon similar to an ax,” according to Budreau.
Police believe that after the homicide, Hall then hid Mather’s body near the scene of the crime and buried the body with dirt and logs.
Hall made his initial court appearance Friday on the murder and corpse abuse charges. At the hearing, Judge Laura Cromwell ordered that Hall be appointed a court-appointed defense lawyer and held in jail without bail.
Hall’s next court appearance is tentatively scheduled for April 9.
Reach reporter Nick Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.