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Deschutes County DA Discusses Simultaneous Murder Cases

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney is busy with homicide cases. Randall Kilby was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences last week, for the hatchet killings of two men. The murders occurred a few months after Kilby was arrested but not charged in the death of Daphne Banks. DA Steve Gunnels tells KBND News, "That’s the first one where somebody had been arrested for a murder, released and then committed another murder; to my knowledge." Kilby’s trial for the Banks murder is on hold while the State Supreme Court rules on the admissibility of statements made to police. 

Another defendant also waits for a trial date, "On December 26, 2023, Theodore Bowser was arrested at his home for the stabbing death of his mother, whose name is Rene Carlson," says Gunnels, "I would not expect it to go to trial until, at the earliest, the fall of 2024."

Gunnels acknowledges the county has seen more violent crime in recent years, "I’ve been a prosecutor for 30 years here. And the typical murder per year for Deschutes County has been zero, one and in a bad year, two. But since COVID, in 2020, that number went up to four." In 2022, the number of homicides jumped up to eight. Last year, there were again four. He believes it's due to a variety of factors, "The Kilby case and the Bowser case, those are essentially domestic cases, where people were cohabitating."

He says there has been a spike in violent crime since COVID, nationwide and locally. "At least in Deschutes County, they largely have to do with drug and alcohol use increasing during that period of time, as well as the social isolation that results, in some cases, with psychosis," says Gunnels. 


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