Trial begins for two accused in 2020 murder near Butte Falls
A murder trial began Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court for two men accused of killing Cody Joseph Baize, 28, near Butte Falls in January 2020.
Joshua Wayne Bull, 34, and Theodore Stacey Johnson, 35, are charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Baize was found dead off Cobleigh Road near Butte Falls Highway by a man who was on his way to hunt for elk the morning of Jan. 10, 2020.
Jury selection occurred Monday. Lawyers delivered opening arguments and several witnesses testified Tuesday.
Prosecutors contend Johnson shot Baize multiple times while Bull, who was friends with Baize, ran him over with his own vehicle.
A USB cord was wrapped around one of Baize’s wrists, possibly used to bind his arms together, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz.
Police officials testified that Baize’s 2009 Taurus was found later in Central Point, and said there was video of Bull, Johnson and Aleka Fay June Dallman, 25, of Grants Pass, together after the murder in that vicinity.
Markiewicz characterized the murder as “senseless” and “ruthless.”
Johnson is said to have used his girlfriend’s mobile phone before the murder to make a social media post that said, “I’m in a redrum mood today.”
Redrum is “murder” spelled backward. The prosecutor explained to jurors that the phrase came from the 1980 horror film “The Shining.”
Dallman, who prosecutors said was with Bull and Johnson at the time of the murder, was given immunity for her cooperation and led police to evidence of the crime.
Dallman has speculated that Baize was killed after taking his car back from Bull.
Law enforcement sought information from the public at the time of the killing and still haven’t been able to piece together why Baize was killed, Markiewicz said.
“It’s true Mr. Bull and Mr. Baize were good friends. … Close friends,” said Christine Herbert, who is defending Bull.
But “there’s no motive why Mr. Bull would want his friend dead,” Herbert said.
Johnson is being represented by defense lawyer Zachary Light.
“The state wants to argue this is an act of senseless violence,” Light said, before noting that second-degree murder is an intentional act and prosecutors need to demonstrate that intent.
Light also said Dallman has “made multiple statements” about the crime.
Baize was living in Grants Pass but came from Kentucky and was a member of the Osage tribe, said Abigail Wilder, who said she had known Baize since he was a teenager and considered him a member of her extended family.
“I loved him very much,” Wilder told jurors. He relocated to Oregon and had lived with Wilder and her family.
The trial is scheduled to take up to two weeks, according to court documents.