Meiser found guilty of murder in 2012 Lake Oswego slaying
Erik Meiser was found guilty of murder last week in the 2012 slaying in Lake Oswego of Frederick "Fritz" Hayes Jr.
Meiser also was found guilty by Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Katherine Weber of one count of second-degree burglary, and guilty except by insanity on two counts of first-degree robbery, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of second-degree burglary.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 6 and faces a possible life sentence, with a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Hayes, 57, was killed after he and his wife Margaret returned from an early morning walk with their beagles to find Meiser burglarizing their Atwater Road home.
Margaret Hayes entered the house first and went into the kitchen, where she encountered a tall white man holding a knife in one hand and a machete in the other. She screamed and ran out the back door — around the same time her husband was coming in the house from a different direction.
She looped back to the front and found her husband "bleeding profusely," with "several large cuts across his head, neck and facial area," a detective wrote at the time.
Fritz Hayes died in his wife's arms in the driveway while she was on the phone with 911.
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office launched a nationwide manhunt after identifying Meiser as its only suspect; the FBI soon joined the search after Meiser was described as a white supremacist with a criminal history in 10 states. A tip led authorities to Corvallis, where they arrested Meiser outside of a Super 8 motel at gunpoint.
Meiser's competency to stand trial was debated in court multiple times since his arrest and he spent years in the Oregon State Hospital, but he was deemed fit to stand trial in August 2016. He had been charged with six counts of aggravated murder in the brutal machete attack that killed Hayes, but was found guilty of the lesser charge of murder on all six counts when the verdict was announced on Oct. 5.
The two robbery charges and the first-degree burglary charge all stemmed from Meiser's actions at the Hayes house — the burglary charge for breaking in, and the robbery charges for threatening each of the Hayses. He was found guilty except by insanity on all three charges.
The two second-degree burglary charges pertained to two other break-ins that Meiser committed earlier that same morning, and he was found guilty for both:
-- One occurred about a half-mile away from the Hayes home, at a house on Atwater Lane. A resident reported hearing someone on his porch at about 4 a.m. Later, he found a bicycle had been taken from its rack in his unlocked garage; the bicycle was ditched, apparently because it had flat tires, but it and a beverage bottle left at the scene contained fin-
gerprints that matched Meiser's, according to court records.
-- The other break-in occurred at Northwest Bujinkan, where criminal mischief was reported late that morning after someone smashed a glass door at the martial arts studio on State Street. News reports have suggested that a machete was stolen from the studio at the same time.
Meiser was transported from the Oregon State Hospital to the Clackamas County Courthouse in Oregon City for the verdict last week. He was then moved back to the hospital in Salem, where he will continue to be held until his sentencing at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6.