Third defendant gets guilty verdict in 2012 slaying
A 26-year old man faces the death penalty after being found guilty in the 2012 slaying of a Eugene man.
A.J. Scott Nelson was convicted of aggravated murder and more than a dozen other felony charges Thursday. A second trial phase to decide if Nelson should be sentenced to death will begin next week.
Nelson is the third and final defendant to be found guilty in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Celestino Gutierrez Jr.
Co-Defendant David Ray Taylor is now on Oregon’s death row and Mercedes Crabtree is serving a life sentence.
The trio was involved in an armed, takeover-style robbery of Siuslaw Bank in Mapleton just hours after Gutierrez was killed August 3, 2012. Investigators say Nelson, Taylor and Crabtree carried out a plan to kidnap and murder a stranger in order to use the victim’s car in the Mapleton bank robbery.
School Resource Officer funding sought
The Florence City Council is being asked to endorse a grant application that would pay for the return of a police officer to Siuslaw schools.
If the grant application is successful, the federal “Community Oriented Policing”, or COPS program, would pay up to $281-thousand over three years to offset costs incurred for the addition of a School Resource Officer.
In a report to the Council, City Recorder Kelli Weese says Florence would get $125-thousand in the first year; approximately $94-thousand in year-two; followed by just over $62-thousand in the third year.
Any additional costs above the grant amount over the three year period would be offset by the Siuslaw School District.
Grant applications through the U.S. Department of Justice are being accepted through June 23rd.
Tsunami Debris discussion
An Oregon State researcher who has been studying tsunami debris washing ashore along the Oregon Coast over the past five years will talk about how the debris made the journey from Japan to the Oregon Coast… and why it will likely continue to wash up on area beaches in coming years.
John Chapman is a zoologist who studies aquatic biological invasions. He says the tsunami debris can transport invasive species that threaten local organisms and cause environmental damage.
He, along with CoastWatch volunteer Fawn Custer, will present a talk at Lane Community College in Florence Tuesday, May 17th at 6:30. It’s presented by the Oregon Shores Coastal Conservation Coalition. The talk is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation is suggested.
Spring means it’s time for boating safety refresher
Lane County Sheriff’s Deputies are teaming up with a regional retailer again this year to promote boating safety.
Sergeant Carrie Carver says deputies will spend time at five different Lane County Bi-Mart stores in coming weeks. She’s encouraging boat owners to stop by and get a free inspection. Deputies will examine registration documents and numbers; check out the life vests and fire extinguishers; and other requirements. Carver said the intention is to double-check to make sure you have everything you need when on the water.
The first inspection will be this Saturday at Cottage Grove Bi-mart, then the following Saturday in Springfield on Mohawk.
The River Road Bi-Mart will host deputies on the 28th, then June 4th they’ll be at two stores in Western Lane County… from 9 AM to 11 at the Veneta store, then from noon to two at Florence.
Coastal Caucus to host 5th annual Coastal Eco Summit
Lawmakers and community leaders from all along the Oregon Coast will converge on the Mill Casino later this summer for the fifth annual Oregon Coast Economic Summit.
The summit is hosted by delegates of the Oregon Coastal Caucus, lawmakers in the Oregon House and Senate who represent coastal districts. Attendance is by invitation only, but the two days of meetings will be taped by Charter Communications and replayed on cable systems between Brookings and Astoria.
More than 450 people from public and private sector interests will focus on the theme of this year’s summit… “Voices from Coastal and Rural Oregonians”.
Feds pay overtime for traffic enforcement blitz
Police officers in Oregon will spend two weeks focusing on proper seat belt and child safety car seat usage beginning Monday.
A special grant program from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will pay for officer overtime between May 16th and the 29th.
Florence Police Commander John Pitcher said local law enforcement will be participating in the program. In addition to seat belt and child seat safety, they’ll also be alert to passengers riding illegally in the open bed of pickup trucks.