On October 21 the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center assisted the family of George and Charmaine Meyers in persuading the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision to defer the projected release date of inmate Jon Johnston for at least another two years. Johnston was sentenced in March, 1992 to two terms of life in prison for the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Meyers.
In June of 1990, Jon Johnston and his co-defendant David Selders were stealing lights and batteries from road construction equipment in Umatilla County. Mr. and Mrs. Meyers drove up to the scene and stopped their vehicle. Johnston and Selders got into their truck and drove away, and the Meyers followed. As Selders and Johnston sped away, the truck went off the road and crashed. They got out of their truck as Mr. and Mrs. Meyers pulled off the road. The Meyers got out of their car, and Johnston, who was carrying a rifle, shot the unarmed Mr. Meyers in the head. Selders and Johnston then beat the couple, who were in their 60s, with rocks, and eventually shot them both numerous times, killing them. Selders and Johnston fled the scene and only turned themselves in several days later when it was apparent they were about to be arrested.
In his exit interview, Johnston blamed his behavior on Selders, saying he only shot Mr. Meyers because Selders told him too. He also blamed the Meyers themselves, saying he thought they might be armed since it was not uncommon for people in Eastern Oregon to carry firearms. (The Meyers had no weapons with them).
After considering testimony from Carlene San Martin, the Meyers' daughter, Rosemary Brewer, legal director of the OCVLC, and from Carine Jefferey, granddaughter of the victims, the Board, in a unanimous decision, found that the inmate has a present severe emotional disorder such that he would constitute a danger to the health and safety of the community, and that disorder cannot be sufficiently controlled. Johnston's new projected release date is December, 2016.
Daniel Primus, District Attorney of Umatilla County, also participated in the hearing.
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