Belander pleads guilty to local charges
Damian Belander, the man arrested in the January murder of Newberg's Brian Bodle, has pled guilty to unrelated charges in Yamhill County.
According to court documents, Belander pled guilty to counts of second- and fourth-degree assault in exchange for having a single count of unlawful use of a weapon dropped when he appeared in Yamhill County Circuit Court in late May.
The local charges stem from events in Yamhill County two days before Bodle was found dead. Belander, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, shot at a motor home in an attempted robbery before assaulting his mother's boyfriend with a crowbar. His use of the weapon may prove important to prosecutors because Bodle's cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and a subsequent investigation found a burned tire iron in the van.
Belander, 22, is accused of bludgeoning Bodle in Washington in January. Bodle's body was found on Jan. 24 near a burned minivan near the junction of two U.S. Forest Service roads approximately six miles east of Cougar, Wash.
The Skamania County Sheriff's Office is still waiting to extradite Belander to Washington to face the murder charges. In the meantime, Belander will serve 60 days in jail, but the sentence is to run concurrently with another pending case.
In the Washington case Belander has been charged with second-degree murder and felony murder. A conviction of second-degree murder and felony murder is punishable with life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
It was the charges against Belander in Oregon that allowed Washington authorities to track him down after they discovered a license plate that identified the burned van as being owned by a former boyfriend of his mother's. Washington sheriff's personnel investigated the license plates and discovered that Yamhill County police were preparing to issue a warrant for Belander in connection with a shooting and robbery involving that minivan a few days earlier.