Belander will face trial for Bodle murder
Damian Bradley Belander, the Dayton man arrested in the 2019 death of Newberg resident Brian Bodle, will face a Washington jury almost exactly one year after Bodle's body was found on a rural road near Mount St. Helens.
Belander, 22, pleaded guilty in an unrelated case to individual 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.
Belander was arrested after shooting at a motor home in an attempted robbery, court records said, before assaulting his mother's boyfriend with a tire iron.
Belander was sentenced to two months in prison in Oregon, then extradited to Skamania County, Wash., in the fall to face charges in Bodle's death.
He was arraigned on Oct. 16 before Superior Court Judge Randall Krog. His trial is set for Jan. 27.
In Washington, Belander faces counts of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree murder in the course of another crime, second-degree intentional murder, second-degree intentional murder in the course of a felony and second-degree arson.
The first-degree murder charges carry with them maximum penalties of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years should Belander be found guilty.
Second-degree murder can also result in a life sentence; an additional 24 months could be added to his sentence if it was determined he was armed with deadly weapon other than a firearm at the time of the murder and an additional 48 months if convicted in any state for attacking someone with a deadly weapon. The maximum penalty for second-degree arson is 10 years in prison.
The state's case is being presented by prosecutor Adam Kick. Belander was appointed a public defender, attorney Christopher Lanz, of White Salmon, Wash., last fall.
Once convened, the Skamania County jury will be presented with substantial evidence that Belander is responsible for the January 2019 death of Bodle.
A probable cause affidavit filed by Deputy Jeremy Schultz of the Skamania County Sheriff's Office implies that Bodle, characterized by Yamhill County Sheriff's detectives as "well know in the narcotics community as a dealer (who) had recently made some transactions which aggravated the buyers," got on the wrong side of Belander, a known drug user, and was murdered as a result.
Bodle's body was found on Jan. 24, 2019, adjacent to a burned minivan near the junction of two U.S. Forest Service roads approximately six miles east of Cougar, Wash.
An autopsy determined he had died from blunt force trauma to the head and was killed at the site in the forest.
The investigation into the death revealed that the minivan belonged to a former boyfriend of Belander's mother. That linked him to the crime scene and proved the impetus for building a case against the defendant.
Belander was interviewed by Washington authorities in late January 2019, claiming his innocence.
"During our conversation with Belander, he denied ever going to Washington state as well as Skamania County, advising he didn't know where Skamania County was," Schultz wrote in the probable cause affidavit. "He also denied ever driving a red Voyager minivan. … Belander stated the only 'Brian' he knew of was in prison somewhere on the east coast of the United States."
However, evidence gathered from cell phone records, Facebook records and interviews placed Belander in southwest Washington at the time of the murder and indicated he reached out to friends to cover up his alleged crime, including asking one friend to bring him clothes in Portland because his were "wet and bloody."
Schultz's investigation also included discovery of surveillance video from facilities owned by Skamania County that showed the van, followed by a small red sedan, traveling a rural road near where Bodle was found dead. The sedan was seen about a half-hour later returning toward Cougar; the van was never seen again.
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