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Hearing held for accused double murderer

A Merlin man accused of killing a Colonial Valley couple in June had a brief status hearing in Josephine County Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Killian, 28, appeared in court via video from the jail. He smiled, fidgeted in his seat and made faces at the camera as one of his two attorneys, Steven Krasik, updated Judge Pat Wolke on the case.

"I think we're doing well, we're getting more discovery every day," Krasik told the court.

Killian is charged with aggravated murder, robbery, burglary, auto theft and other crimes — 23 counts total — for the deaths of Jerry and Joann Jackson at their Space View Drive home June 15. The charges include two counts of animal abuse; one of the Jacksons' two Labradoodles was injured and the other died. The weapon used in the killings was a knife, according to court documents.

Investigators believe Killian fled afterward in Joann Jackson's PT Cruiser, briefly driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 and later crashing near the Merlin landfill, where he tried to steal another car.

Killian is being held without bail in Josephine County Jail. He is also charged with auto theft for an October 2014 car-stealing incident, and is facing auto theft, hit-and-run, eluding and other charges for crimes that occurred four days before the Jacksons were murdered.

He'll be back in court Dec. 30, when Wolke will consider a motion to consolidate the cases against him.

Wolke granted a request by the defense to allow Killian to dress in civilian clothes, rather than jail garb, for the December hearing.

Friends have said Joann Jackson, 73, loved animals and was a member of a Colonial Valley women's club and other social groups. Jerry, 75, was fascinated by exotic plants and played the drums. They enjoyed eating out at the Riffle Cafe in Merlin.

Oregon State Police have remained mum on a possible motive for the killings, and it remains unclear whether the couple knew the defendant.

Killian's Josephine County criminal history includes a 2008 second-degree robbery conviction for pepper-spraying and robbing an Abby's Pizza delivery woman, and a 2006 conviction for eluding an officer.

He also has prior convictions in Tillamook County for methamphetamine possession and theft.