Edwin Lara Sentenced to Life in Prison

Today, Edwin Lara was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of 23-year-old Kaylee Sawyer.

Lara submitted a guilty plea this morning for aggravated murder and robbery. The sentence was handed down by Judge Micheal Adler after hours of impact statements, both written and in-person, were presented to the court by Sawyer’s friends and family.

Adler said the brutality of the murder, along with Lara’s position as a COCC public safety officer, made the case stand out to him.

“You are fortunate a jury is not deciding whether to sentence you to death,” said Adler. Adler added that a true life sentence is the most serious sentence anyone actually receives in Oregon and called it “appropriate for this case.”

After Edwin Lara plead guilty to aggravated murder and robbery in the first-degree, Lara also waived his right to 48-hour sentencing.

With that Judge Adler allowed impact statements from Sawyer’s friends and family. Sawyer’s mother Juli Walden VanCleave said to Lara during her statement, “You have failed to silence her.” Talking about how Sawyer’s death united the community and there is now a foundation and a scholarship in her honor.

“I’ll always be the mother of a murder victim, but your mother will always be the mother of a murderer and a rapist,” said VanCleave.

One of Sawyer’s friends who testified said she regularly reaches for her phone to text or call Sawyer before she remembers that she can’t. She also said she still struggles to sleep or to be alone at night.

“I don’t even want to have children anymore because I know that monsters exist,” said Sawyer’s friend.

Sawyer’s maternal grandparents, Jim and Sharon Walden, and family friend Doug Gray all expressed frustration at Lara’s plea deal, which allowed him to avoid the death penalty that was being sought by District Attorney John Hummel, by pleading guilty.

The court took a break after testimony from Sawyer’s mother, maternal grandparents and friend. Sawyer’s father, paternal grandparents and co-workers from Awbrey Dental Group read their impact statements this afternoon.

Sawyer’s coworkers both delivered tearful testimony about how her murder has affect their lives and work and Sawyer’s father, the only person who addressed the court from the witness stand, held back tears before echoing that his daughter’s voice was not silenced by her murder.

After a brief recess Lara was able to address the court. Much of Sawyer’s family, including her friends, coworkers, mother and paternal grandparents all chose to leave the courtroom and returned after Lara’s statement.

“Today, I’ve seen your pain,” said Lara, who turned around to address those gathered in the courtroom, rather than the judge. “Today, I’ve seen your hate. I don’t have much to say to you at this moment. I can only pray. Someday, I would like to speak to whoever will listen. God Almighty, who art in Heaven, I’ll ask you please, heal the hearts of this community. I ask you to please heal the hearts of this family, of everyone who is in this place today, and that Kaylee Sawyer rest in peace Amen.”

Sawyer’s grandfather Jim Walden walked out during Lara’s statement and returned with the rest of Sawyer’s family.

Lara, a 32-year-old former COCC campus safety officer, is accused of abducting 23-year-old Sawyer as she was walking home, killing her on the college campus and dumping her body in a canyon west of Redmond in July 2016.

Lara was also accused of sexually assaulting Sawyer but, according to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, once Lara’s initial confession was thrown out, sexual assault became harder to prove. He also noted that Lara refused to plead guilty to sexual assault as part of his plea deal. Hummel said they’re main goal was to get a life sentence so they decided with the family to not pursue a sexual assault conviction in order to avoid a less harsh sentence.

Lara will carry out his entire sentence in Oregon, regardless of what is decided in the case against him in California.

Stay with Central Oregon Daily on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates, and we will have report a report from Anyssa Bohanan at 6 p.m. on KOHD-ABC and 7 p.m. on KBNZ-CBS.

Arrests Made in Super 8 Motel Robbery

Updated: Thursday Jan. 11, 2018 2:40 p.m.

The two suspects in a robbery of Super 8 Motel on Monday morning are in custody as of 11 p.m. Wednesday night, according to the Bend Police Department.

Bend residents Ryan Donovan Simpson, 33, and Scott Hilton Sullivan, 32, are both in custody as of Thursday afternoon.

After putting out a wanted notice on Simpson, police were about to locate him around 3:00 pm and were able to contact him in a passenger car during a traffic stop in the parking lot of the Motel West.

Simpson was taken into custody for Robbery I and Theft II.

According to Bend Police, based on information obtained during Simpson’s arrest and information obtained throughout the three day investigation, detectives obtained a search warrant to for a residence in Southeast Bend.

Evidence found during the search tied both Simpson and Sullivan to the robbery at the Super 8 Motel and a robbery at The Days Inn and Suites.

Simpson is lodged at the Deschutes County Adult Jail on charges for both robberies, including two counts of Robbery I and two counts of Theft II.

Sullivan, who was arrested on Tuesday and charges with Robbery I and Theft II,  will have charges of Robbery I and Theft II added for the robbery at The Days Inn and Suites.

Updated: Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018 3:00 p.m.

Bend Police are seeking Bend resident Ryan Donovan Simpson, 33, and have identified him as the second suspect of a motel robbery on Monday.

According to the Bend Police Department as the investigation into Monday’s robbery moved forward, the Bend Police Department found information regarding Ryan Simpson. On Wednesday at 2 p.m. police issued a statement that Simpson is wanted as he was involved in the robbery at the Super 8 Motel on January 8. At this time Simpson is believed to be armed and dangerous.

Police are asking the public for help. If you know where Simpson is located or have information about this investigation,  call 541-693-6911 or contact us through private messages via our Facebook (@BendPoliceDepartmentOfficial) page or Twitter account (@Bendcitypolice). Police are warning the public that if you see Simpson, do not approach him and call 911.

Posted Jan. 9, 2018

Bend Police have named a suspect in the Super 8 Motel Robbery that occurred in the early morning hours on Monday.

Scott Hilton Sullivan, a 32 year old Bend resident, is suspected to be one of the two males, both estimated to be in their 30s and both seen clad in dark hoodies with bandanas covering their faces in surveillance videos, who robbed the motel around 4:30 a.m. Monday morning.

According to the Bend Police Department, the two men displayed a handgun and then took an undisclosed amount of cash from the hotel along with the personal property of one hotel employee.

After the robbery was reported on Monday, Bend Police Department investigated the incident with help from the Prineville Police Department, Deschutes County Adults Jail, Deschutes County Parole and Probation and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Today Bend Police released Sullivan’s name as a suspect. Bend Police detective already located Sullivan, who was in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Rooster Deli. Detectives recovered items used in the robbery and took Sullivan into custody. He is currently lodged at the Deschutes County Jail for Robbery I, Theft II and for an active probation violation warrant.

Bend Police served a search warrant in a room at the Shiloh Inn and found additional items related to the robbery.

The Bend Police Department is committed to a resolution in this robbery, as well as the robbery that occurred at the Days Inn and Suites a day prior. The investigations into both of these robberies are ongoing.

Potential Plea Deal for Lara

A potential plea deal for Edwin Lara, the accused killer of Bend resident Kaylee Sawyer, is in the works but far from finalized.

Under the proposed deal Lara would plead guilty to aggravated murder and would receive life without the possibility of parole, but possibility to seek the death penalty would be dropped. This is according to a Facebook posts from Kaylee’s mother, Juli Walden Van Cleave, posted today on her public Facebook page.

The information from Van Cleave was confirmed by a second source that was at the settlement hearing and spoke with Central Oregon Daily reporters today.

The deal is not finalized and attorneys in the Lara case are under a court order not to speak publicly about the case.

Lara is due to go on trial in the fall of 2018 on four counts of aggravated murder in the July 2016 killing of COCC student Sawyer.

Lara, a 32-year-old former COCC campus safety officer, is accused of abducting 23-year-old Sawyer as she was walking home, killing her on the college campus and dumping her body in a canyon west of Redmond.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced earlier that he would seek the death penalty in the case.

Lara is expected to be in court for a two-day hearing on January 22 and 23.

Tune in to Central Oregon Daily at 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Shooting Near COCC Campus

Bend Police released the following report on Sunday morning after COCC students were alerted about a shooting near the COCC campus on Saturday night:

Date & Time of Incident: January 6th at 6:52 pm

Type of Incident: Attempted Murder

Location of Incident: 2500 NW Regency

Victim:

Shayne Oloughlin 19 year old male Bend resident

Juvenile 16 year old male Bend resident

Suspect:

15 year old male Bend resident

15 year old male Bend resident

Narrative:

On January 6th at 6:52 pm, the Bend Police Department was notified by Deschutes County 911 of a possible shooting investigation. Bend Police, along with Bend Fire and Rescue, responded to an apartment within the complex at 2500 NW Regency to assist a 16 year old juvenile who had suffered a gunshot wound.

The juvenile was transported to St. Charles Medical Center with life threatening injuries.

The initial investigation found that the 16 year old was with Shayne Oloughlin at Oloughlin’s apartment. Two 15 year old male suspects, who are known to the victims, stole marijuana. During the robbery, they shot the 16 year old victim before fleeing in a vehicle.

Bend Police activated the Central Oregon Major Crimes Team and worked this investigation throughout the night in cooperation with the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators were able to locate both 15 year old suspects and recovered a firearm and additional stolen items. Both juveniles are being lodged at the Deschutes County Juvenile Department on charges of Attempted Murder, Assault in the First Degree, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Burglary I and Robbery I. Based on the type of incident, specific details are being withheld as the investigation is still on going.

The Bend Police Department learned early on that this was an isolated incident and determined there was no direct threat to the immediate area of the incident.

Investigators are asking anyone with information related to this incident to contact Deschutes County Dispatch at (541) 693-6911.

The Major Crime Team was activated for this incident. Members from Bend PD, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Prineville PD, Redmond PD, Oregon State Police and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab assisted with the investigation.

Local Law Enforcement Participate in “No-Shave November” Face-Off

You may have noticed that your favorite law enforcement officers in the community are looking a little “scruffy” these days, but it’s actually for a good cause.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan reports on the “No-Shave November” friendly competition between the City of Bend Police Department and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Oregon.