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The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
April 1, 1988 Friday - - SECOND Edition
LENGTH: 992 words
BYLINE: DICK COCKLE, Correspondent, The Oregonian

Devil worship may have played a part in an elaborate scheme by suspected serial killer Stanley M. Bernson to break out of the Umatilla County Jail, using a helicopter, automatic weapons and grenades.

Bernson, 52, is a suspect in the disappearances of as many as 30 young women around the Northwest.

Steve Fogelson, deputy Umatilla County district attorney, said Bernson has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit escape and two counts of solicitation to commit escape, both Class B felonies.

He also has been cited under Oregon's dangeous offender statute, conviction of which could add 30 years to his sentence, Fogelson said.

The new accusations center on an alleged conspiracy to use a hijacked helicopter, automatic weapons and smoke grenades to stage a breakout with the help of a ``brotherhood'' of seven accomplices bound by a ``covenant,'' said Sheriff James H. Carey. The aborted escape was to have taken place March 6.

Carey said the possibility that satanism or devil worship figured in the case arose because of odd star and ring symbols present in letters intercepted by police from Bernson to other members of the group.

``There's always a kind of a star in his letters to his brotherhood,'' the sheriff said. ``He's an excellent artist, and it would be . . . drawn in infinite detail, and his handwriting would be over the top of the drawings.''

A ring usually was drawn atop the star, and more symbols were sketched on the ring, he said. Research is under way to determine if the star and ring are satanic symbols. Pentagrams, or five-pointed stars, upside-down crosses, and the numbers 666 often are associated with witchraft and devil worship.

The suggestion of satanism caught Donald D. Yokom of Pendleton, Bernson's court-appointed attorney on the escape charges, by surprise.

``I haven't heard anything of that,'' he said Wednesday. ``This is the first time anybody suggested that to me.''

But Carey said satanism crops up occasionally in criminal cases around the Northwest.

``We have definitely seen it in some homicides,'' the sheriff said. ``I think we're underestimating it. . . . I think it plays a far bigger role than we've understood in the past.''

Bernson is a former Tri-Cities, Wash., produce salesman who once bragged of traveling with Seattle serial killer Theodore Bundy, who is on death row in Florida. Bernson has been in jail for nearly 2 years, awaiting trial for the Dec. 22, 1978, murder of 15-year-old Sharon Weber at Cold Springs Reservoir near Hermiston.

Before his transfer to the Umatilla jail, the 6-foot, 190-pound Bernson had been serving a life sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla on a 1983 conviction for killing Diann Remington, 22, of Benton County, Wash., in 1979.

Bernson achieved a measure of national notoriety in January 1984 when his crimes were featured in ``Inside Detective'' magazine, following his conviction for Remington's murder. Authorities say they have linked him directly to several killings and claim he is a suspect in the deaths of at least 30 young women around the Northwest. But he has been charged with nothing in connection with those cases.

Carey said Bernson's so-called ``brotherhood'' was started at the Umatilla County Jail or in the penitentiary at Walla Walla, but only one alleged member of the group has been charged in connection with the planned escape. Joseph C. Carbaugh, 22, another inmate at the Umatilla County Jail, is accused of two counts of conspiracy to commit escape and also has been charged under Oregon's dangeous offender statute.

The sheriff said that some suspected members of the brotherhood are imprisoned at Walla Walla or confined to the medium-security Eastern Oregon Correctional Institition in Pendleton, but others are free.

Carey said it was unlikely that more charges would be filed because of the difficulty in proving that others actively participated in plotting a breakout.

The scheme called for hijacking a helicopter in La Grande, Tri-Cities, Wash., or Vancouver, Wash., Carey said. After landing on the jail's roof, atop the Umatilla County Courthouse, Bernson's written plans called for his accomplices to kill a shotgun-armed guard there, cut communications antennas and a fence, and roll a smoke bomb down a stairwell.

After freeing Bernson, the plans called for him to fly to an isolated farmhouse where the helicopter would be hidden or camouflaged for several days, until they felt it was safe to leave, Carey said.

Far from being a pipe dream, the plan ``was feasible,'' the sheriff said. ``It's possible. . . . That's what concerns us.''

Bernson is confined to a maximum security cell, he said.

In a statement signed last year by Fogelson, Bernson was named as the prime suspect in the 1975 shooting deaths of Dianne Merckx and Shannon Varley, both 20, of Tri-Cities.

According to testimony last year by former cellmates, Bernson bragged that he and Ted Bundy traveled together. Bundy was investigated, though never charged, in a string of murders in Washington state of college-age women in the mid-1970s. Six bodies eventually were found.

Bundy has steadfastly denied any involvement in those killings.

In September 1986, one of Bernson's cellmates testified during a pretrial hearing in Umatilla Circuit Court that while watching a TV news broadcast about the discovery of a murdered woman's body, Bernson confided, ``That's one of mine.''

Carey said Bernson has been classed as an escape risk since his arrival at the 80-bed Umatilla County Jail. ``Basically, he behaves himself, except he's always trying to escape,'' the sheriff commented. ``He hasn't stopped.''

Before March 6, Bernson had stepped up a personal exercise regimen. Carey said corrections officers ``were surprised at the number of sit-ups he could do.''


The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
April 26, 1989 Wednesday - - Fourth Edition
SECTION: Coast Zoner; Pg. B02
LENGTH: 458 words
BYLINE: DANA TIMS, Correspondent, The Oregonian

A history of gruesome and outrageous acts culminating in the ritualistic slaying last May of a 19-year-old Eugene woman will persuade jurors to hand the death penalty to a man convicted last week of aggravated murder, a Lane County prosecutor said Tuesday.

``This is a predator who picks on weaker people as his victims,'' said Assistant District Attorney Brian Barnes, pointing at 21-year-old Jason Wayne Rose. ``Just like a pack of lions in Africa picks on the weakest member of a herd it is attacking.''

Barnes' comments came during opening statements of the penalty phase of Rose's trial. The same jury of nine women and three men unanimously voted last week to convict Rose of aggravated murder for the slaying of Melissa Ann Meyer in a wooded area of rural north Springfield.

Psychologists will testify during the penalty phase that Rose suffers from an untreatable personality defect that makes him immune to the feelings of others, Barnes said.

That defect, combined with Meyer's murder and Rose's history of threatening people and delving into anti-social practices such as the occult and devil worship, justify meting him the death penalty, he said.

Prosecution witnesses will testify that Rose was fascinated by black magic and that on numerous occasions he sacrificed animals such as chickens, goats, cats and dogs, Barnes said.

``Many of the events you will hear will be outrageous, unspeakable things that you can't fathom,'' Barnes told the panel. ``I want you to be prepared for them.''

Despite defense contentions that Rose has given up the occult for Bible study classes, an upside-down pentagram bearing the satanic symbols of a goat's head and a bloody fingerprint was seized from Rose's Lane County Jail cell as recently as two months ago, Barnes said.

During his 20-minute opening statement, defense attorney Terry Gough painted a far different picture of Rose, one colored by early childhood beatings by his stepfather and disillusionment toward authority.

Many of Rose's ``macho-type posturings'' and statements are the result of someone merely exaggerating his importance, Gough said.

``It was just a hodgepodge of things he was dabbling in,'' Gough said. ``He dabbled in the occult only to increase his own sense of worth.''

The attorney dismissed prosecution arguments that Meyer died during the course of a human sacrifice as ``just a bunch of smoke.''

Rose, acting with a friend, 18-year-old John Ray Jones, killed Meyer only out of ``impulse,'' Gough said.

``You'll see that Jason Rose very much wants to live and that his family very much wants him to live,'' Gough said. ``I only ask that you remain calm and rational until you hear all of the evidence.''


The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
October 7, 1992 Wednesday - - - FOURTH Edition
LENGTH: 402 words
BYLINE: RICHARD COCKLE, Correspondent, The Oregonian

Authorities say no clues have emerged in the theft of a skull from a grave near Milton-Freewater, but they believe the incident is a sign that Satanism may be on the rise in some parts of Eastern Oregon.

Umatilla County Undersheriff John Trumbo of Pendleton said he has no suspects in the disappearance of the skull of Robert Z. William, who was buried in 1929 in the Bowlus Cemetery.

``And, frankly I don't think we will, unless we get lucky,'' Trumbo said Tuesday. ``We are relatively sure it involves some type of Satanic activity.''

The theft was discovered last month by farm workers. Police said a 3-foot-deep hole had been excavated in front of the headstone, and a smaller hole was made where the skull was taken.

While no evidence of Satanic activity was discovered nearby, police have stumbled across possible Devil worship sites in northern Umatilla County and the Hermiston area, Trumbo said.

Deputies found ``remnants of a fire, some debris that had been left, some writings on a rock that indicated there had been some Satanic activity in that location,'' in the northern corner of the county, he said. ``We got nowhere on that, either.''

Near Hermiston, graffiti indicative of devil worship was found on a barn, he said.

Police suspect Satan worshippers operate in or around Hermiston, Milton-Freewater and Pendleton, said Trumbo, adding that adults and teen-agers appear to be involved.

``We have talked to some people who know for a fact of some adults involved in Satanic activity,'' he said. ``What we pick up is little bits and pieces that are left behind.''

During the early 1980s, authorities in Pendleton said 14 to 17 youngsters became involved in Satan worship under the leadership of a local adult. The group's activities may have involved the ritual killing of cats, Pendleton police reported at the time.

The group disbanded in summer 1984, after two members threw a Molotov cocktail -- a bottle of gasoline with a flaming wick -- into an apartment building. No one was injured.

One man was convicted of first-degree arson in the case, and authorities said he was accompanied by a 16-year-old. Police and school officials said some of the youngsters involved in that ``coven'' were placed in foster homes or under psychiatric care, and some left town.

ILLUSTRATION: Photo by The Associated Press/DAVE SCHAFER


The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)

May 21, 1993 Friday
FOURTH Edition


LENGTH: 535 words


BYLINE: RICHARD COCKLE, Correspondent, The Oregonian <




Summary: Some $500,000 damage is caused in La Grande's Grandview Cemetery as crypts are opened and tombstones smashed or tipped

A spree of tombstone bashing that caused an estimated $500,000 damage in an Eastern Oregon cemetery this week has left authorities baffled.

Considering the weight of some of the 269 tombstones in Grandview Cemetery that were smashed or tipped over, Union County Sheriff Steve Oliver remained perplexed about how the vandals accomplished what they did.

``Some of those must have weighed over 1,000 pounds,'' he said Wednesday. ``I don't know how they turned them over. There weren't any tire tracks.''

One coffin was opened, but it was still unclear whether Satanism played a part, he said.

``There weren't any of the satanic symbols like you sometimes see,'' said Oliver. ``Whether it was a wanton act of vandalism, we don't know yet.''

The vandals opened four crypts, but only one contained a coffin, the sheriff said.

``They just opened the lid,'' he added. ``We checked it, and everything was intact.''

The desecration of one of the oldest cemeteries in this isolated, mountain region left the 11,890 residents of La Grande stunned.

``Some of those tombstones that they knocked over date back into the 1800s,'' said Oliver. ``A lot of them were broken in half. They will never be able to fix them.''

A groundskeeper at the cemetery said some of the stones would cost $5,000 to $6,000 to replace.

The vandals also broke some frontier-era wooden tombstones ``that looked like something out of Boot Hill,'' the sheriff said.

The vandals forced open two cemetery gates and entered two storage buildings, he said.

The incident wasn't the first of its kind at Grandview Cemetery or in the region.

In September 1991, three La Grande teen-agers ranging in age from 16 to 18 pleaded guilty to mutilating the corpse of a 91-year-old man the previous spring in Grandview Cemetery.

Authorities said the ring finger from the left hand and the index finger of the right hand were removed from the body of Harry W. Moon, who died in 1987, after a burial vault was broken into.

The only adult among those involved, Keith James Andrews, 18, of La Grande, was sentenced to 15 days in jail on a felony charge of abusing a corpse and second-degree criminal mischief. The juveniles, ages 16 and 17, were placed on probation for two years.

The cemetery borders Eastern Oregon State College, where Andrews was enrolled at the time of the incident.

Then, last fall, someone stole a skull from a shallow grave near Milton-Freewater in adjoining Umatilla County. The skull was taken from the 1929 grave of Robert Z. William, in the old Bolus cemetery.

No arrests were ever made in that case.

Investigators at the time said they have come across possible devil-worship sites in the Milton-Freewater and Hermiston areas. Oliver said he isn't aware of any satanic activity around La Grande.

The sheriff said he's convinced the Grandview Cemetery vandals will be caught.

``Somebody will hear something and tell us,'' he said. ``This kind of crime rally makes people angry. They are more likely to say something about this than other kinds of crimes.''


The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
August 24, 1994 Wednesday - - - FOURTH Edition
LENGTH: 651 words
BYLINE: STEVEN AMICK, of the Oregonian Staff <

Summary: Police arrest a Portlander who had befriended Jeff and Dale Brown, found stabbed on a beach

Jeffry Ray Brown and Dale Archie Brown were opposites in many ways, as brothers sometimes are. Death came to them, however, in the same brutal form.

Their killer, homicide detectives said Tuesday, was a 20-year-old newcomer to Portland who came to the attention of police in March after a violent incident.

Members of the Clackamas County Homicide Team arrested Karl Anthony Terry about 3 p.m. in his Hollywood district home in Portland, 1742 N.E. 48th Ave., Apt. 2.

Terry was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on accusations of two counts of aggravated murder. No bail was set.

Detective Sgt. Robert McCrum of the Milwaukie Police Department said that Terry and the Brown brothers had been friends and that Terry apparently went camping with them Aug. 6, the day before anglers found their bodies on a Willamette River beach.

Jeff Brown, 23, and his brother Dale had gone to the beach near downtown Milwaukie to celebrate Dale's 22nd birthday.

When their bodies were found, each had been stabbed several times, at least once in the heart.

The double homicide -- Milwaukie's first multiple slaying in more than 20 years -- galvanized the city.

Police Chief Brent W. Collier said a homicide team made up of Milwaukie and Oregon state police and members of the district attorney's and medical examiner's offices went to work almost round the clock.

Meanwhile, the brothers' family, friends and fellow citizens mourned and feared. They wanted the killer caught. They wanted to feel safe. And they wanted to help.

Collier, speaking at an Aug. 13 Island Station Neighborhood Association meeting, said citizens had phoned in more than 50 tips to the investigators. The leads, McCrum said, led to Terry's arrest.

Saying he didn't want to compromise a court case against Terry, McCrum refused to divulge details of the evidence investigators had turned up, or to say why they believe Terry killed the Browns.

However, he said robbery had been ruled out as a motive. Earlier, at the association's meeting, he had told residents that police had no evidence that drugs were involved.

After Terry's arrest, McCrum sketched a portrait of a volatile man who was born in Tennessee, moved from Knoxville to the Portland area seven or eight months ago and soon after befriended the Browns.

While living in Milwaukie in March, McCrum said, Terry, who was unemployed, had called police to say that his roommate, Alan Gregory Moser, was hurt.

Police and paramedics found Moser ``covered in blood,'' according to a police report of the incident, from what Moser said were numerous deep slashes that Terry had inflicted with a straight razor. Terry said Moser had pulled a knife and inflicted a small wound on Terry's chest.

Terry was not prosecuted for the slashing because of lack of proof that he had acted other than in self-defense.

A search warrant executed at Terry's home Friday added more to the sketch. Among about 40 items of evidence that investigators seized were samples of his writings, McCrum said, including several notebooks with pentagrams, or five-pointed stars within circles, drawn on the covers. Such symbols are commonly used by persons interested in satanism, or devil worship, the detective said. He would not say that Terry was involved in such activities.

The brothers had much in common, Lynn Pierson said. Both loved children and liked helping people. As youths, both had been active in Boy Scouts and had attended Milwaukie High School.

Both enjoyed the outdoors, and a few weeks ago they sat enchanted for hours on the North Fork of the Clackamas River as they watched a hawk teach her young to fly.

The brothers' ashes are scattered at that spot.

ILLUSTRATION: 3 Color photos





The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
January 6, 1989 Friday - - - Fourth Edition
SECTION: Local Stories; Pg. C08
LENGTH: 286 words

Portland police are looking into incidents last month of what could be Ku Klux Klan or Satanic activity in an East Portland apartment complex and in Tualatin.

No injuries were reported in either incident, both of which involved a number of persons dressed in hooded, white robes.

Shortly before 3 p.m. on Dec. 6, three persons dressed in hoods and robes, which were tied at the waist with ropes, were seen getting out of a car in front of 1911 N.E. 66th Ave., said Officer Loren Christensen, public information officer for the Portland Police Bureau's Central Precinct.

A witness told police she saw the trio walk a short distance north on 66th Avenue, each chanting while pressing what appeared to be an identical large black book between both hands, Christensen said.

The witness became frightened and left the area, according to a police report. When she returned, the three had left.

Four days later, two Tualatin youths were playing in an orchard near Southwest Nyberg Street about 2:30 p.m. when a spear flew over their heads, Christensen said. When the two went to look at the spear, they found a piece of paper with a drawing attached to it and found a second, slightly smaller spear nearby.

The boys heard a noise as they were looking at the spears and paper and turned to see five people dressed in hoods and robes standing nearby in a crescent-shaped line and making a humming sound, Christensen said.

The youths ran home and turned the spears and paper over to Tualatin police.

According to the Tualatin police report, the paper was a drawing of a person wearing a white, hooded robe holding a cross that was being struck by lightning.


The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
January 11, 1989 Wednesday - - Fourth Edition
SECTION: East Zoner; Pg. B04
LENGTH: 517 words

City Attorney James Jennings told the Troutdale City Council Tuesday night that some teenagers are being prosecuted in connection with illegal break-ins at Edgefield Manor.

``This is alarming and really dangerous,'' Jennings said. ``Some good kids are being lured in there (the manor) and getting into trouble. There'a a volatile mix of kids there, including some from good families who have no records, and some really bad people. It's tragic.''

Jennings was referring to some teenagers who have been caught inside the rambling three-story 1911-vintage building that was once the Multnomah County Farm's dormitory, and who are facing charges of criminal trespassing.

He said second degree criminal trespassing is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum term of one year in jail.

``I would give details later but now I can't because the cases are still in court,'' he told a reporter after the meeting.

When asked about it, several council members said they were angry but didn't want to talk about the city being stuck with a lengthy process in determining whether the building should be saved because of its history. They said they were especially angry about what's been happening in the deteriorating building in the meantime and didn't know what to do about it.

``Don't get me started,'' councilwoman Marjorie Schmunk said.

The Georgian brick structure, which is owned by Multnomah County but is located within the Troutdale city limits, has been closed since 1982.

Since it has been boarded up, according to police reports, the building has been entered constantly and has become a meeting place for youths and gangs selling and using drugs and engaging in satanic worship.

The manor and its companion laundry building are too big and unlit for police to catch trespassers often, said Troutdale Police Chief Brent Collier.

``We never go in there with less than five officers and we are armed,'' he said. ``The security there is better since new attempts have been made to board up the building and since the installation of new burglar alarms. But there's no way you can board it up tight. And there's still an awful lot of activity in there.''

The 77-year-old structure is the subject of an $8,000 study by a Portland consulting firm hired by the county to determine how much it would cost to bring the manor up to code and to determine whether it would be worth saving. The study results are expected this month or in February.

Both the county and Troutdale want the 330-acre county farm property developed. Some county officials have proposed razing the building -- arguing that it would be easier to market the property without the building.

However, Troutdale forces -- the City Council and originally the Troutdale Historical Society -- have said they want serious attempts made at marketing the property with the manor on it.

City Councilman Paul Thalhofer said Tuesday that he is displeased that the county has failed to do that and that he is also upset because the county has not properly secured the building.


The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
April 21, 1989 Friday - - Fourth Edition
SECTION: Coast Zoner; Pg. D02
LENGTH: 564 words
BYLINE: PAT KIGHT, Correspondent, The Oregonian\

An 18-year-old Bend youth told a jury Thursday that he was part of a ``satanic'' group that desecrated an Albany cemetery last June, but denied taking part in the acts himself.

Warren Lee Courtain is accused of helping to dig up a corpse at the rural Knox Butte Cemetery, beheading it and setting fire to the grave. The charge, abuse of a corpse, is a class C felony.

Twelve Linn County Circuit Court jurors heard testimony -- live and taped -- from Courtain and also heard from two detectives who investigated the incident. Bones found near the open grave were introduced in court Thursday as evidence, as were seven beer cans found strewn about the cemetery.

After lawyers made closing arguments, the jurors deliberated for two hours before Judge Jackson Frost sent them home for the night. They were to resume deliberations Friday morning.

Courtain was arrested last October after he went to the Deschutes County Sheriff's office to volunteer information about the Albany incident and other activities that he said were related to a satanic cult.

Courtain told the jury Thursday that for about a year he had belonged to a ``gang-type cult'' called the Hell Crew. He said he left the group a few weeks after the Albany incident.

Courtain said he was a ``high priest'' of the group, which he said wore leather jackets decorated with inverted crucifixes, skulls and ``satanic'' slogans.

Courtain denied, however, that the Albany incident had anything to do with the group's occult activities, although he acknowledged three of the four other young men with him at the cemetery that night were Hell Crew members.

Instead, Courtain said, the group, which played rock music under the name Cardiac Arrest, had come to Albany to ``party.'' He said they went to the cemetery at the urging of a teen-age girl they picked up at a local convenience store.

Courtain, who said he had been drinking 190-proof grain alcohol and smoking marijuana that night, maintained that he stayed near a ``lone oak'' in the cemetery, some 30 feet away from the desecrated grave.

He said he saw two of his companions take folding shovels from the trunk of their car and dig up the grave of William Whitaker, who died in 1963.

Courtain said he believed the men dug up the grave to ``impress'' the Albany girl, who he said had sex with at least two of them near the gravesite.

Linn County Deputy Paul Miller, who went to the cemetery on June 13 after receiving reports of smoke rising above a grave, said the grave had been dug up and the earth ``thrown all over'' the area. A marble vault slab had been removed, and the coffin beneath splintered, he said.

Miller said he found that the corpse's skull was missing, and the coffin set on fire.

Whitaker's skull has not been recovered. Courtain testified that the skull was in the car when the group left Albany and drove on to Seattle, where he was living at the time.

``I remember the stench,'' Courtain said in a taped interview played in court Thursday. ``Then we turned up the stereo and away we went.''

Miller said Courtain told him he and his companions had dumped the skull in a refuse pit at a Seattle cemetery, but that police there were unable to locate it. Nor was Miller able to locate any of Courtain's alleged companions from that evening, despite checking with police all over the West Coast.