A jury in Washington County Circuit Court sentenced Jaime Tinoco-Camarena to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday, June 15, after finding him guilty of the 2014 murder of Nicole Laube, a Forest Grove resident.
After testimony from psychologists, law enforcement officials and Laube's family members, the jury handed down the harshest sentence available following deliberation, which took less than an hour. Because Tinoco was 17 at the time he committed the murder, he could not be sentenced to the death penalty.
Tinoco saw Laube at a Beaverton apartment complex while she was handing out fliers, intended to rape her, but stabbed her in the chest with a kitchen knife instead when she screamed, he told detectives.
Before Judge Thompson formally imposed his sentence, Tinoco showed signs of remorse for the first time after previously telling detectives it "felt nice" to kill Laube. Tinoco stood up and said, "I ask for forgiveness," and sat down again.
Testimony from Laube's family left jurors and audience members in tears. Laube's sister, Chelsea Kaaumoana, said the murder "shattered" their family and asked the jury to make sure Tinoco was never able to hurt anyone else. Chris Laube, the victim's husband, told the jury he has had to explain to his four children what happened to their mother. Chris Laube said his son always chooses the window seat on airplanes in hopes he'll catch a glimpse of his mother in heaven.
Prosecutors argued Tinoco should not ever be released because of his history of serious criminal offenses and violence.
But defense attorneys said Tinoco, now 20, has been suffering from untreated schizophrenia and should have the opportunity for parole after treatment and medication use. Schizophrenia causes psychotic symptoms to distort a person's thinking and can include hallucinations, delusions and trouble organizing thoughts.
The defense called Jeremy Kenney, a psychologist, who evaluated Tinoco on several occasions and reviewed his past criminal and medical records. Kenney said it was his opinion that Tinoco was schizophrenic and was not competent to stand trial. Judge Thompson had already declared Tinoco fit for trial. He was also deemed fit to stand trial when he was convicted of raping a Eugene woman, a crime for which he's currently serving 14 years.
Kenney said Tinoco appeared consistently disheveled, would often suddenly stop responding to questions and didn't consistently understand the role of judges, attorneys and district attorneys. Kenney said Tinoco also told him he was an only child and continued a conversation about growing up without siblings, which is not true.
The psychologist said it's difficult to determine what causes schizophrenia, but often patients are born with a predisposition for developing the illness, which can be set off by a traumatic event or drug use. Tinoco apparently started using drugs at 12 years old and was a regular user of methamphetamine by 15. He has an extended juvenile record.
Kenney described Tinoco as "among some of the most challenging" people he's ever evaluated, meaning his was not an easy-to-diagnose condition.
Prosecutors also called Courtney Prokosch, a psychologist at the Oregon State Hospital, who disagreed with Kenney's diagnosis. Prokosch said she believes Tinoco has antisocial personality disorder, characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for or violation of the rights of another person. Aggressiveness, irresponsibility, a reckless disregard for the safety of others and a lack of remorse are defining characteristics of the disorder.
Prokosch said Tinoco's psychiatrist initially diagnosed Tinoco with schizophrenia but later changed his diagnosis to antisocial personality disorder as well. She considers hallucinations as one of the defining symptoms of schizophrenia and did not see those in Tinoco.
With schizophrenia, patients often — but not always — see or hear things that don't exist but believe these are normal experiences. With antisocial personality disorder, Prokosch said, patients have a conscience recognition of their behaviors.
Prokosch referenced Tinoco's behavior in the hospital, making "inappropriate" comments toward female staff and engaging in an "inappropriate relationship" with a female inmate. He also instigated fights with other prisoners, she said.
Prokosch said hospital staff members made notes in Tinoco's files that he would exhibit bizarre behavior when staff members were watching him.
KOIN News 6, a news partner of Pamplin Media Group, contributed to the reporting of this story.