Suspect pleads not guilty in violent assault
A 49-year-old man, who had been staying at his mother's home in Madras, pleaded not guilty last week to charges related to the stabbing of a domestic partner on Dec. 24.
Robert Lee Stafford Jr., 49, pleaded not guilty Jan. 2, in the Jefferson County District Court to attempted murder, second-degree assault, and first-degree burglary in connection to the assault.
The Christmas Eve incident was reported at 3:44 p.m., when a Madras police officer was dispatched to "a stabbing in progress" at a residence on Southwest J Street.
Officer Josh Roth arrived at the residence and saw a naked man — later determined to be Stafford — breaking through a sliding glass door at the residence. Stafford then grabbed a woman, and was holding her as he left the house.
When the suspect did not respond to his commands, Roth deployed a stun gun on the man, who didn't drop to the ground, but continued to hold the woman and a large kitchen knife. After pulling the woman away, Roth reported in the arrest affidavit, "I unholstered my department issued duty weapon and delivered one focused blow with the barrell of my duty weapon to Mr. Stafford Jr.'s facial area."
Stafford fell on his back and dropped the knife, but refused to comply with the officer's commands, repeatedly appearing to attempt to get up, and getting pulsed with the Taser. As Stafford was trying to grab and remove the Taser wires, a deputy from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office arrived and assisted in getting handcuffs on Stafford.
The female victim, who was later found to have at least four stab wounds, along with lacerations to her hands and fingers, was transported to St. Charles Madras by Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services. Stafford was also transported to the hospital, but did not have any similar laceration wounds.
At that residence, Roth spoke with the homeowners who had tried to assist the woman as she fled a nearby house. The male neighbor said that he was outside, turning on his Christmas lights, when he saw the woman running toward him and screaming. The neighbor saw Stafford running toward them with a large knife and ran with the woman into his house, entering through the sliding door.
The neighbor's wife said that the assailant, who she knew, grabbed a hammer and started breaking the sliding glass door, saying that he was going to kill woman he had been chasing. Inside the broken glass door, Roth reported that there was a large amount of blood on the floor.
The older neighbor couple told Roth that Stafford was visiting his mother, who lived in a residence about 50 yards away. When Roth checked out that residence, no one answered the door, which was ajar, or responded to his calls. He entered the house to check on the welfare of Stafford's mother, and found her asleep in her bedroom, connected to an oxygen tank, and unaware of the commotion.
Roth also "observed a large amount of blood on the kitchen floor," as well as several kitchen knives.
The victim of the stabbing told a police detective that she had been in an "on again, off again" relationship with Stafford for about 13 years. She told police that Stafford used cocaine, and was under the influence of illegal narcotics during the assault.
Stafford, whose reported addresses have included Madras, and Dutch Harbor and Palmer, Alaska, is represented by attorney Jason Munn. Security for Stafford was set at $250,000.
In Oregon, both attempted murder and second-degree assault are Measure 11 crimes, with mandatory minimum sentences. Anyone convicted of attempted murder faces a minumum sentence of seven years and six months, and for second-degree assault, five years and 10 months.
Stafford is scheduled to be back in court for a pretrial conference on Jan. 31.
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