'Camper' attacks Russell neighborhood resident
A patch of land, owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation, east of 122nd Avenue, between Siskiyou Street and the I-84 Freeway, has been an attractive spot for homeless camps for some time, according to neighbors.
A resident near the offramp, 65-year-old Kasey S. Lebechuck, has made efforts to keep the area clear of camps – which led to his being attacked with a knife at 6:22 p.m. on May 27.
Lebechuck's daughter, Kayla McNeel, told reporters that her father has lived in the Russell neighborhood for about six years. And, during that time, he's been actively trying to keep camps from being set up in the area.
Her father had been returning home from shopping, McNeel said, when he saw a man "setting up camp". Lebechuck confronted the man, later identified as 25-year-old Todd William Schneider, and told him he was camping in a restricted area.
Schneider responded by saying he needed to get his cell phone out of his backpack, but instead pulled out a knife, and started stabbing Lebechuck; first in the face – the blade slid into his left eye – and then he continued stabbing him 16 more times.
"In the hospital, Dad told me he was trying to get up off the ground, but the guy wouldn't let him, and just kept stabbing him," McNeel told reporters.
Although Lebechuck's cheek was stabbed all the way through -- and he was also stabbed in the arms and chest, torso, and he received a perforated lung -- the badly wounded man made his way to a nearby home, where neighbors called police.
"As officers and emergency medical personnel provided the victim medical aid, additional officers searched the area and located a 'person of interest', and took him into custody," reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley.
That person of interest was Schneider, and he was lodged in the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 9:49 p.m. that evening, on a charge of Assault in the First Degree, and later two other charges, including attempted murder.
PPB Assault Detail detectives took on the case, and presented findings to the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.
Due to the Memorial Day holiday, Schneider's arraignment was initially delayed until May 29; and in Multnomah County Court, Schneider announced that he wished to serve as his own attorney on the felony charges of Attempted Murder, First Degree Assault, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
When the presiding judge asked that a public defender represent the accused until it could be determined if Schneider was competent to represent himself, the suspect refused.
The judge set aside Schneider's arraignment until the following day, May 30, at which time he pled not guilty to all three felony charges. He remains in custody at MCDC, in lieu of $500,500 combined bail.
And, McNeel said doctors told her they believed that her dad would recover, but only after extensive physical therapy. She set up a GoFundMe.com account to help with his medical expenses: www.gofundme.com/help-for-kasey