After several years in state hospital, suspect arraigned again in 2004 killing

Yovane Muro

After several years in state hospital, suspect arraigned again in 2004 killing
By Bill Oram, The Oregonian
January 06, 2010, 11:38AM

Forest Grove man originally jailed for murder six years ago was arraigned for the same crime Wednesday after being released from the state hospital in Salem, police said.

Yovane Muro, 27, is accused of stabbing an acquaintance nearly 20 times in Forest Grove’s Lincoln Park on May 26, 2004. Reports at the time said Muro and his victim, Gilberto Vasquez Ramos, 24, had a longstanding feud.

Muro pleaded not guilty to the crime and was on suicide watch in the Washington County jail, where officials were concerned that Muro “doesn’t seem to be reality-based,” a sheriff’s spokesman said at the time.

A Washington County judge determined Muro was “unable to assist in his own defense” and sent him to the Oregon State Hospital. Officials there determined Muro was no longer a danger to himself or others, said Bracken McKey, senior deputy district attorney.

Forest Grove police spokesman Capt. Aaron Ashbaugh said that police picked him up Tuesday at the hospital in Salem.

Muro is in the Washington County Jail with an immigration hold, and was arraigned in Washington County on one charge of felony murder.

McKey said Muro is likely to stand trial this time and that the county will seek an indictment for murder.

— Bill Oram


State board keeps convicted murderer hospitalized

Gorger with his attorney to his left

By Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian
September 25, 2009

A state board has ruled that a Tigard convicted murderer, who has been committed to the state mental hospital since 1999, remain hospitalized and not be released to the community.

But the state Psychiatric Security Review Board this week did recommend that the Oregon State Hospital have Gorger evaluated by a secure residential treatment facility for possible placement at some future date.

The board must schedule another full hearing before any conditonal release is made.

Rex Gorger was found guilty but insane in the Dec. 26, 1998, killing of a former Tigard High School classmate, Chris Bowen, 21, and two other stabbings, including the attempted murder of his father –three crimes that occurred within one week.

He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, along with two 20-year sentences for the other stabbings.

The state’s decision was up in the air since a July 15 hearing before the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board. At that time, a three-member panel of the board was split 2 to 1 on whether Gorger was ready to be evaluated for release to a secure residential treatment facility. The board needed a three-member majority vote to proceed. As a result, it had to share the testimony with its two other members.

At the start of the July hearing, an assistant attorney general presented a signed agreement reached with Gorger’s lawyer, Harris Matarazzo, which held that Gorger would be released to a secure residential treatment center, such as Woodburn’s Telecare, and would be allowed on outings and given passes to the community.

But the Washington County District Attorney’s office opposed the agreement, and so did the victim’s family.

At the hearing, Oregon State Hospital staff psychiatrist David L. Jobe testified that Gorger, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and substance abuse, was stabilized with medication. Jobe said Gorger had shown “good insight” into his mental illness and the dangers of substance abuse, had been taking classes online toward an associate degree at Chemeketa Community College, and hadn’t had any psychotic episodes since March 2005.

At the state hospital, he has been housed in an unlocked cottage during the day with the ability to come and go on part of the hospital grounds with staff supervision, and has had 24- to 48-hour community release passes with his parents that have gone well.

But the family of the murder victim objected. Randi Bowen and her mother, Teresa Wenzel, urged the board to keep Gorger at the hospital, where they said they believe there’s more accountability than in a private facility. They said they’re concerned Gorger would re-offend.

–Maxine Bernstein

PSRB determining whether Gorger should be released

Should this killer be released?

by Adam Ghassemi KATU News and Staff

Rex Gorger

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.