Suspect in northwest Oregon woman murders indicted in three killings

A man, who has been the subject of an investigation into the deaths of four women, whose bodies were discovered in various locations across northwest Oregon last year, has been formally charged with two of those murders. Additionally, he has also been indicted for the killing of a woman whose body was found in Washington state.

Jesse Lee Calhoun, 39, has been indicted by a grand jury on second-degree murder charges for the deaths of Charity Lynn Perry, 24; Bridget Leanne Webster, 31; and Joanna Speaks, 32, as announced by the Multnomah County district attorney on Friday. Perry and Webster were discovered in Oregon, while Speaks was found in an abandoned barn in southwestern Washington.

During a press conference held at Portland police headquarters, Multnomah County Sheriff Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell expressed her satisfaction with the indictment of Jesse Calhoun, stating that it represents a crucial stride towards achieving justice. She acknowledged the multitude of lingering questions and the unease caused by the deaths, emphasizing the impact on both the local community and the families eagerly awaiting answers.

Calhoun was about to be released from state prison in a few weeks when the indictment was announced. He had been sent back to prison last year to complete a four-year sentence for multiple offenses, including assaulting a police officer, attempting to strangle a police dog, and burglary.

In 2021, he was released a year ahead of schedule due to his involvement in assisting with the firefighting efforts during the destructive wildfires of 2020. However, Governor Tina Kotek revoked the commutation, which had been granted by her predecessor, Kate Brown, after he became a subject of investigation in relation to the deaths.

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It is not currently known if Calhoun has legal representation for the murder charges, as court records do not indicate this information. The authorities have not disclosed the specific evidence that connects him to the deaths. The district attorney’s office mentioned on Friday that they are still in the process of finalizing the charging document.

According to the families, all three individuals had difficulties with addiction or mental health problems, as stated by the reporters.

The prosecutor’s office is currently investigating the deaths of two other women, both aged 22, named Kristin Smith and Ashley Real.

In June, the Portland Police Bureau stated that the available facts did not support the speculation about a serial killer. However, by July, the authorities had a change of perspective and acknowledged that the deaths seemed to be connected.

Diana Allen, Perry’s mother, and Melissa Smith, Smith’s mother, attended the news conference on Friday and expressed their appreciation for the detectives’ efforts.

“It has been incredibly frustrating for us, as families, to not have any answers,” expressed Allen. However, she acknowledged that the investigators prioritized justice for Charity over her personal feelings. “I must admit, I have a certain level of respect for that,” she added.

Smith expressed her hope for the eventual resolution of her daughter’s case.

“We continue to persevere, wait, and pray,” she expressed. “We maintain a sense of hope.”

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