Should this killer be released?
by Adam Ghassemi KATU News and KATU.com Staff
SALEM, Ore. – A murderer will learn Wednesday whether he will be evaluated for release from the Oregon State Hospital to a secure residential treatment facility and the mother of his victim says she will be there when the Psychiatric Security Review Board makes its decision.
It’s hard to think a parent could ever come to grips with losing a child, especially to murder, but that’s the burden Teresa Wenzel has been carrying for nearly 11 years.
“There are members of the family that are still incredibly angry,” she said. “There are members of the family that are incredibly hurt. My daughter misses her brother all the time, so it’s not been easy for them.”
Wenzel’s son, Chris Bowen, died Christmas night in 1998 at the age of 21. He had been stabbed 42 times in his Tigard apartment.
In 2001, Rex Gorger confessed to the killing and since then, Wenzel has had to fight to keep him in the state hospital.
“You can’t bring my son back, so revenge isn’t going to get you anywhere. Being angry doesn’t get you anywhere. I just want to make sure that the public is protected,” she said.
Now the time to fight has come again. Wenzel believes sending Gorger to a secure residential treatment facility is a mistake.
“They’re unsupervised,” she said. “They can come and go as they want. And I have a real problem with that because I don’t feel that the neighborhood is safe. I don’t feel that anyone associated with Rex is safe.”
Authorities say just before Bowen’s murder, Gorger repeatedly stabbed a man who was on his way to Christmas Eve mass. The man survived. Following the attack on Bowen, Gorger then stabbed his father multiple times, critically injuring him. Reason enough, Wenzel says, for the killer to remain secure.
“You make a commitment. And as a mother you make a commitment to your children. And you make a commitment to the world to keep it safe,” she said. “And my commitment is that as long as this keeps coming forward, I will continue to try to keep the public safe.”
Wenzel said she would be fine with a secure facility if Gorger could remain in lockdown.
Wednesday’s hearing on the matter is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. It is important to note that the Psychiatric Security Review Board is not determining whether Gorger should be released, but whether he should be evaluated for release. This is a regularly scheduled, two-year hearing.
Wenzel said her family will be there.
From The Oregonian of Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2001
Man sent to state hospital in stabbing
Rex Anthony Gorger, who faces murder charges in another case, wounded his father in 1998
By Holly Danks
HILLSBORO — A 21-year-old Tigard man on Monday was committed to the Oregon State Hospital for as long as 20 years for stabbing his father.
Rex Anthony Gorger still faces charges of murder and attempted murder in the death of an acquaintance about 15 hours before he tried to kill his father and in the stabbing and wounding of another man two days before that.
Monday’s ruling should have no bearing on the other cases that are yet to be tried. No dates have been set for those trials.
Although the three attacks were close in time, when Washington County Circuit Judge Mark Gardner found Gorger guilty but insane after a trial without a jury in February, he was ruling only on Gorger’s mental state at the time of the attack on his father, Richard Allen Gorger. Gardner found him guilty except for insanity of attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, and unlawful use of a weapon.
According to police and court reports, the elder Gorger was stabbed late the morning of Dec. 26, 1998, in his Tigard home in the 13200 block of Southwest 72nd Avenue, where his then-18-year-old son was living. Richard Gorger was in critical condition when hospitalized but later recovered.
Dr. George Suckow, a psychiatrist who testified for the defense, said Rex Gorger was schizophrenic and psychotic, even though he was found able to assist in his own defense after about a year of treatment at the state hospital.
While in the Washington County Jail awaiting sentencing for the attack on his father, Gorger told a detective and corrections deputy about the other stabbings. Until then, they had been unsolved.
Gorger was indicted in May in connection with the fatal stabbing of Christopher Reid Bowen, 21, of Tigard. And a Clackamas County grand jury indicted him in August in the stabbing that injured Theron Jay Marrs, then 37, of California.
Bowen was found dead of neck and chest wounds about 5:30 p.m. Dec. 26, 1998, in his unit at the Arbor Heights Apartments in the 15100 block of Southwest Royalty Parkway in Tigard. Marrs was stabbed from behind in the parking lot of the Church of the Resurrection in the 21000 block of Southwest Stafford Road in Tualatin shortly before 10 p.m. while on his way to Christmas Eve Mass.
Suckow also said Gorger was a substantial threat to the community and should be sent to the state hospital, not released to his family or any kind of community mental-health program.