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Wednesday
May152013

Cloud of uncertainty hangs over family

After five years, two wins at Oregon Court of Appeals, mother still in court over custody of her daughter

David Jaques, The Roseburg Beacon

The saga of Ajay Pichette, the single mother who battled the state of Oregon for more than four years for the return of her daughter Nakota (Kota), winning twice in the Oregon court of appeals, continues as she was taken back to court earlier this month defending against a claim for custody and visitation by the former state appointed foster parents, Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies, Mike and Kim Root. 

Liam, Lilly, and Nakota (Kota)The nightmare, as Ajay defines it, all began back in November of 2007, when five armed officers entered her mother’s home in Curtin, where she was staying, and stripped her seven week old baby, Nakota Ruth Eckel from her arms. The 18-year-old single mother, Ajay Eckel (now Pichette) described the scene that night as “chaotic and terrifying”. 

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Wednesday
Dec192012

Suspicious death in Roseburg home fire linked to shooter

Motel shooting ends without bloodshed

By David Jaques

An exchange of gunfire between suspect Jonathan Lackey and numerous police officers resulted in an over 3 hour standoff with dozens of police at the Casa Loma Motel on N.E. Stephens in Roseburg, Oregon. The incident began with the investigation of a possible homicide which occurred earlier that same day and ended when 23 year old gunman, Jonathan Lackey, surrendered.

OSP Forensic Unit at crime scene investigation, Tuesday outside Casebeer home on Ramp Road. -Photo STAFF/Beacon

At approximately 3:00 pm on Monday, December 17, 2012, several law enforcement units were dispatched to the Casa Loma Motel seeking a man characterized by police as a “local transient”, to investigate a possible connection to the death of an elderly man who resided at 437 S.E. Ramp Road.

According to a statement from the Roseburg Police Department; upon arrival at the Casa Loma Motel, Detectives with the Douglas County Major Crimes Team attempted to make contact with Lackey. After knocking on the door repeatedly, Lackey finally exited the room and “aimed a handgun at one of the Detectives and fired it.”

Forensic investigators measure trajectory of bullets on Tuesday, following Monday’s shooting incident. -Photo STAFF/Beacon

Several detectives positioned outside the motel returned fire, and Lackey was forced to retreated back into the room. Police reports state that Lackey then broke out the rear window of the motel room and fired additional shots. Witnesses at nearby businesses and residences confirmed hearing multiple gunshots.

Within minutes of the exchange of gunfire, law enforcement had closed N.E. Stephens St. (Highway 99) from Winchester Blvd. on the South to Garden Valley at the North.

Meanwhile snipers took up positions facing the door of Room 2 of the Casa Loma Motel, pinning down the lone gunman. Law enforcement officers, with full body armor and riot gear, took up positions in the road on N.E. Stephens, on the roof of an adjoining motel, and in strategic positions behind the motel in the Little Caesar Pizza parking lot.

More than three hours elapsed as several snipers were rotated periodically due to extreme cold temperatures and freezing rain which fell off and on throughout the ordeal.

As the afternoon gave way to nightfall, additional law enforcement vehicles arrived on the scene, including a large panel truck from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and an armored vehicle also from the DCSO. During that time spot lights were focused on Room 2 in an effort to illuminate the target and “reduce visibility” for the perpetrator lodged inside.

Assets from Roseburg P.D., the D.C. Sheriff’s office, State Police, Sutherlin P.D., and Winston P.D. were deployed to the scene and used to cordon off side streets and access points to that section of Stephens.

Several businesses in the area were vacated in an effort to protect bystanders from errant gunfire.
The Beacon learned through confidential informants that Lackey was being sought for questioning as to his possible involvement in the death of 71 year old Roseburg resident, Richard Casebeer, whose home on Ramp Road was partially burned earlier in the day, on Monday, December 17.

Police close traffic on N.E. Stephens during standoff with gunman. -Photo STAFF/BeaconNeither fire investigators nor law enforcement have officially released the name of the deceased, found inside the home, however the Beacon confirmed the identity of the homeowner with family members. Though no cause of death has been released, an informant confirmed that his death was not fire related.

Casebeer had no children, and his wife Linda has been deceased for many years. He is survived by two cousins, one living in eastern Douglas County, the other in Jackson County. Both said it has been several years since they’ve spoken with Richard.

Lackey in custody escorted to Roseburg P.D. squad car. -Photo STAFF/BeaconCasebeer, a retired City of Roseburg public works employee, was characterized by neighbor, Faye Mentzer, as a “pleasant man”. Mentzer said that during the past summer she observed a young man, who she described as being in his late teens or early twenties, approximately 5’ 10”, and of slender build, helping Casebeer around his property. She said the young man usually wore a stocking cap and had most recently been helping Casebeer build a gazebo in his front yard.

23 year-old shooter, Jonathan Lackey surrenders to police in parking lot of Casa Loma Motel after 3 ½ hour ordeal. -Photo STAFF/BeaconThough Mentzer was unaware of a connection between the arrest of Jonathan Lackey and the house fire across the street from her home, there appears to be a resemblance between her description of the young man helping her neighbor during the past spring and summer, and that of Jonathan Lackey.

Roseburg Police Department’s PIO, Sergeant, Jeff Eichenbusch, told the Beacon the two incidents are being investigated independently, but would not deny a connection between them.

When the first reports of gunfire were received, police units were initially sent to the Ramp Road location, before being rerouted to the Casa Loma Motel on N.E. Stephens.

The standoff at the Casa Loma Motel ended at approximately 6:30 pm, after several hours of intense negotiations. Lackey surrendered, exiting Room 2, by backing out of the room at the command of law enforcement with hands over his head. He was then told to get down on his knees, hand cuffed, and led to a waiting Roseburg squad car. Lackey was lodged in the Douglas County Corrections facility.

On Tuesday, Lackey was arraigned before Judge Julie Zuver. The video arraignment lasted about three minutes. He was charged with: five felony counts of Attempted Aggravated Murder; five counts of Attempted Felony Assault 1; one count Class C Felony Unlawful Use of a Weapon; one count Class A Misdemeanor Menacing; one count Class B Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct; and one count Class A Misdemeanor Recklessly Endangering Another.

Snipers pin down Jonathan Lackey at Casa Loma. -Photo STAFF/BeaconJudge Zuver directed that public counsel be assigned and denied bail. At this time the D.A. has not filed any charges relating to the death at the Ramp Road fire.

Investigative teams spent Tuesday at the Casa Loma scene marking, photographing, and gathering forensic evidence both inside the room and in the parking lot. Several gunshot entry points were marked and labeled in the front of the room where Lackey had been holed up.

The Oregon State Police Forensic Evidence Team, on Tuesday, also had tents and investigation units stationed at the Ramp Road home and were assisted by local law enforcement.

Thursday
Oct252012

Oregon GOP Chair Allen Alley asked to resign

David Jaques - The Roseburg Beacon

Roseburg, OR - Oregon Republican Party Chairman, and former gubernatorial candidate,

Allen Alley is facing calls for his resignation after a recent political mailing was sent out. The mailer was sponsored by an organization co-chaired by Alley which endorsed 30 democrats along with selected republican candidates.

Alley tendered his resignation as Co-Chair of Oregon Transformation Project (OTP) on Sunday, October 21, just two days after the mailings hit households throughout the state.

The mailing entitled “Women’s Voters Guide” was a creation of the Oregon Transformation Project as indicated on a disclaimer on the mailer. The content of the mailer was based on the recommendations of five Oregon Women; two republicans, two democrats and one independent. There was no criteria listed as to how the selections were made.

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Thursday
Oct252012

Editorial - Down a Dark Alley with Allen

Less than sixty days following the contentious Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Oregon Republican Party Chairman Allen Alley finds himself, once again, embroiled in a controversy with the GOP faithful of his state.

After being caught red handed running over the top of the duly elected delegates and alternates back in June at the state’s multilateral conventions, Alley’s under fire again for his direct connection to a Women’s Voters guide in which 30 democrats were endorsed, including Peter DeFazio the thirteen term incumbent, progressive, democrat from Oregon’s fourth district. Art Robinson, who fell just four percentage points short of besting DeFazio in the 2010 election, did not respond to our attempt to get a comment on Alley’s involvement.

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Thursday
Oct252012

Alley and Kremer Funnel Money to Favorite Candidates

Op-Ed by Jim Welsh

The stink over the ORGOP’s Oregon Transformation Project’s (OTP) endorsement of Democrats over Republicans is starting to spread over the whole Oregon Republican Party establishment. As many of you know I resigned my membership in the Oregon Republican Party in July. The OTP’s treasurer, Rob Kremer, was a primary reason I did so.

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