BEND, Oregon — A judge has thrown out a former security guard’s purported confession to killing a woman at the central Oregon community college where he worked.
Deschutes County Judge A. Michael Adler on Friday ruled that it wasn’t clear if Edwin Lara invoked his constitutional right to an attorney.
But Adler allowed some evidence obtained from Lara’s statements, including the finding of the body of 23-year-old Kaylee Sawyer. Adler ruled detectives would have found the body in the open off a highway west of Redmond without Lara’s statements.
The 32-year-old Lara is accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Sawyer in July 2016 while on duty as a Central Oregon Community College security guard in Bend.
He then drove to Salem, the state capital, where authorities say he kidnapped another woman and took her to California, then shot and wounded a man and carjacked a vehicle carrying three people. After a high-speed chase on the main freeway along the West Coast, the California Highway Patrol arrested Lara.
Sawyer’s body was found later that day, two days after she was killed.
Lara’s attorneys argued that Lara requested an attorney multiple times in the California jail. Adler said California officers did not follow state law that allows a defendant three calls within three hours of arrest.
Adler said Oregon detectives read Lara his Miranda rights but didn’t know Lara never had a chance to contact a lawyer. The Oregon detectives conducted the interview with no attorney present.
“Clarifying questions were required to be asked, and they were not asked,” Adler said.
The trial is scheduled to start in October 2018. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel is seeking the death penalty.