Day: June 19, 2014

Two stories at murder trial

  By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes The 10-year anniversary of someone’s death is often a somber time. But in the case of Phillip Johnson, there could be some joy mixed in. Johnson was 33 when he was killed in the parking lot of Cascadian Village Apartments on the night of July 1, 2004. Last year, Victor David Smith was arraigned for Johnson’s murder. Smith’s trial started on Tuesday and is expected to last through the week. During opening statements, the two sides painted opposing pictures of Smith’s involvement and circumstances surrounding the murder. Deputy District Attorney David Wilson started by reading from a letter Smith wrote to Imani Williams, Johnson’s former girlfriend who was living with Smith at the time. “I’ll leave a person dead over you,” Smith wrote in part. “That may be a problem, because I do have an anger problem and low tolerance towards people.” According to Wilson, Smith acted out the letter. “Those qualities (in the letter) all collided on July 1, 2004,” Wilson said. “The defendant loved Imani Williams. The defendant loved Imani so much, he wrote her letters over the years. He wrote a rap about how they met. The defendant loved her so much, he got her name tattooed on his neck. “The problem was Imani Williams wasn’t as devoted to him because of Phillip Johnson,” he added. “She was in...

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Tech school gets SKSB’s green light

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes The 2014-15 district budget and a partnership with Mountain West Career Technical Institute were approved at Tuesday’s Salem-Keizer School Board meeting. The budget was approved 6-0 with board chair Jim Green declaring a potential conflict of interest. The vote on the technical education partnership passed 5-1, with director Chuck Lee abstaining as president of the organization involved and director Paul Kyllo stating a procedural reservation. For the first time in six years, the district is not reducing the budget or asking the district staff for concessions. The budget totals $397,916,237 and allows the district to invest an additional $12.4 million in schools and departments. It involves reinstatement of swimming by switching $52,500 from the contingency fund to the general fund, to pay for pool lane rentals and transportation to Oregon School Activities Assn meets. Green’s concern for a possible conflict of interest came from his employment by the Oregon School Boards Association, to which the district pays dues. Before the vote for the agreement with Mountain West, nine people from the audience spoke on the proposal, all in favor. They contended that there was a need to make technical education available to high school students districtwide, to have them graduate on schedule with the training that would make way for well-paying jobs. Kyllo complained that the agreement was made hastily with no master...

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