BEND, Ore. — Prosecutors in an Oregon murder case brought a witness to the stand who said the suspect told her he “silenced” his victim “forever” and “finished it.”
Testimony from the witness who police said was kidnapped by the suspect was heard on Thursday at an evidentiary hearing for the July 2016 killing of Kaylee Sawyer.
Witness Aundreah Elizabeth Maes was interviewed by police after Edwin Lara was arrested in California, The Bend Bulletin reported (http://bit.ly/2tNzvkq ).
Audio recordings from her interviews were submitted into evidence for the judge to review.
Lara, a former college campus security guard, has been charged with four counts of aggravated murder for Sawyer’s death. The 32-year-old faces the death penalty if convicted.
Lara is accused of running over Sawyer with his Central Oregon Community College public safety vehicle and then putting her in the trunk and killing her.
He is then accused of kidnapping Maes and fleeing to California before shooting a man, carjacking and kidnapping a family and evading police during a high-speed chase.
Maes said in her interviews with police that Lara held her at gunpoint on the way to California and talked about his interactions with Sawyer.
Steve Craig, Lara’s co-worker at the time of the murder and a former Bend police officer, told authorities Lara called him during his run to California and confessed to killing Sawyer.
Evidence, such as drag marks and bloodstains, were found in the campus parking lot where Sawyer is believed to have been hit by Lara’s vehicle. Blood was also found in the back of Lara’s work vehicle.
Lara’s attorneys have accused jail staff of ignoring Lara’s requests for an attorney. They said Central Oregon investigators engaged in a six-hour interrogation of Lara after his right to an attorney had been violated.
Through the court hearings that began July 10, Lara’s attorneys are trying to keep the statements and evidence from the information he gave police out of the trial.
Three additional days of testimony have been scheduled for Sept. 11-13.
The trial is scheduled for October 2018.
Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com