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Police: Man killed in home, burned in RV

A Josephine County circuit judge has ordered a man with no prior criminal history be appointed a public defender — against the man's wishes — in a case charging him with murdering a 70-year-old man and destroying his body in a trailer fire.

Troy Miles Dawson, 24, of Grants Pass, was charged Monday with murder with a firearm and three counts of first-degree arson for the killing of Michael Benedict Sr., whose body was dragged into an RV that was torched at Benedict's property outside Murphy Friday afternoon.

Dawson stated Monday that he does not want a court-appointed defense lawyer, according to a memorandum filed in court, but Circuit Judge Pat Wolke ordered he be appointed one.

Dawson allegedly killed Benedict inside his home at 1535 Board Shanty Creek Road Friday afternoon, moved the body to the fifth-wheel trailer on the property and set a fire that burned the trailer to the ground, according to an affidavit from Oregon State Police.

Dawson allegedly told his mother he killed Benedict, then fled on foot, triggering a manhunt Friday night, according to the affidavit. He was captured at 11:18 a.m. Saturday after OSP troopers found him walking in the area of Red Spur and Summit Loop near Murphy.

Upon his capture, Dawson allegedly volunteered knowledge about the crime that included "information that he knew the police were going to get him today," according to the affidavit. Dawson's next court appearance is set for Oct. 16, court records show.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Troy Dawson