Defendant pleads guilty to charge in Lake Oswego deer head incident
The suspect in the severed deer head case that left Lake Oswego community members outraged pleaded guilty to one of four charges filed against him in Clackamas County Circuit Court Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Thomas A. Jakmauh, 19, was charged by the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office with two counts of second-degree disorderly conduct and two counts of offensive littering — all misdemeanor charges — for leaving two severed deer heads at or near homes in the Palisades neighborhood.
On Tuesday Jakmauh pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree disorderly conduct — a class B misdemeanor — and was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 40 hours of community service work to be performed in the city of Lake Oswego to make reparations to the affected community, as well as a fine of $360.
The court also ordered Jakmauh to refrain from alcohol use and to complete a DUII Diversion program in Benton County, where he was charged with a DUII in late 2020. A plea hearing for that charge is scheduled for March 11.
According to the Lake Oswego Police Department, passersby reported the sightings of the severed deer heads at 9:19 a.m. and 12:23 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, with one on the corner of Greentree Road and Campus Way and the other on the 2700 block of Greentree Road. The two deer heads were left next to a Black Lives Matter sign and a sign supporting Joe Biden for president.
Community members previously expressed outrage at the charges, particularly Lake Oswego resident Peggy Lant — one of the victims whose home was targeted — who felt Jakmauh should be charged with a bias or hate crime.
During the plea hearing Tuesday morning, the court acknowledged a lack of evidence in the case for it to be charged as a bias crime.
Representatives in the courtroom said Jakmauh admitted he did not like President Biden and that he and a friend went deer hunting and had a license and tag to shoot deer. They brought home the recently hunted deer and after butchering and cleaning the carcass, representatives said Jakmauh made the mistake of dumping the leftover carcasses in yards instead of disposing of them in a proper way. After an investigation into the deer heads, particularly the one placed next to the Black Lives Matter sign, no evidence emerged indicating Jakmauh knew the race, religion or had any other connection to the homeowner.
Lant spoke at the plea hearing and shared that her two Asian-American daughters had connections with Jakmauh through school at Lakeridge High School.
"I don't, however, think that had anything to do with targeting my house," said Lant, adding that the courts left out that a Black Lives Matter sign had also been placed in her yard along with the Biden signage, and that the only similarity between the two homes were the Black Lives Matter signage.
"This to me is good evidence," she said.
Lant added that the littering charges filed against Jakmauh were offensive.
"I thought that was really an insult to the community, to every person of color in our community and ... to me and my daughters," Lant said.
Lant recommended Jakmauh apologize to the community and address what he did. She said the sentence should help create a more just society and should include that Jakmauh self-educate by reading books, attend Lake Oswego's Respond to Racism group and work on a community project that might expand his understanding of what it means to be Black in Lake Oswego.
"What we need is a world where we're cooperating, not fighting, and I think something like that would be a better step than doing something punitive," Lant said.
Jakmauh's attorney, Daniel Armstrong, said Jakmauh has "a lot of growing up to do" but that he is a person of color and comes from a diverse background.
"This does not have anything to do with a race crime," Armstrong said.
Prior to hearing his sentencing, Jakmauh apologized to Lant.
"I would like to write her a letter as a formal apology," Jakmauh said. "I am Asian-American as well and I am very sorry for whatever disturbance I may have caused in her home."
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