Day: June 20, 2014

Jury doesn’t reach verdict in murder case

  By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes After more than five hours of deliberation Friday, no verdict was reached in the murder trial of Phillip Johnson. Victor David Smith was charged with murdering Keizer’s Johnson with a firearm. Johnson was shot multiple times outside his Keizer apartment the night of July 1, 2004. Smith was arraigned last year on the single murder charge. The trial started on Tuesday, following a day for jury selection, and will continue Monday in Judge Tom Hart’s courtroom at the Marion County Courthouse. The start time for Monday is unknown, as it depends on how long jury deliberation takes. Smith was a prime suspect early in the case. At the time of the murder, he lived in Salem with Imani Williams, Johnson’s former girlfriend and a key figure in the saga. Much of the prosecution’s case was based on Smith being upset Williams still had strong feelings for Johnson. Friday’s deliberations followed lengthy closing arguments for both sides. Prosecutor Paige Clarkson from the Marion County District Attorney’s office opened by once again showing “The Defendant’s Prophecy,” a letter Smith had written to Williams. The letter had also led Tuesday’s opening arguments. “This defendant had a problem and the problem had a name: Phillip Johnson,” Clarkson said. “Phillip Johnson was the one thing that stood between him and what he loved. Phillip Johnson deserves justice....

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UGM Walk For Hope Saturday

The Union Gospel Mission of Salem is holding Walk For Hope 2014 this Saturday, June 21. The event starts at the downtown Salem UGM shelter at 9:30 a.m. and travels about five miles to end at the UGM’s Simonka Place in Keizer around 10:30. There will be bounce houses, balloon art, face painting and lunch at Simonka Place. Lunch will be provided at 11:30. UGM officials are hoping to have 400 walkers and to raise $35,000 with the event. The money will be used to provide meals and care at UGM for the summer. In the past two years, there has been an increase in services during the summer. More information is available at...

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Preserve instead of develop?

To the Editor: The news about the Herber property (on Verda Lane between Chemawa and Dearborn) going to apartments ought to make Keizer residents pause a moment. Private use of private property for legal purposes always ought to be supported. In the case of “Cow Meadows,” perhaps it’s time once again for the community to step up to preserve a core Keizer value. As society gets more hemmed in, such open space will become increasingly precious. Once it’s gone, there is no getting it back. Perhaps the wiser minds of Keizer could find a way to create a small rural preserve for this ground, maybe adding it to Claggett Creek Park. Or, perhaps there is a way to do a little of both—development and preservation. In the end, there may be no viable option but to develop. But the community should consider the options now, before no options are available. What do you think, Keizer? Les Zaitz Bates,...

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Cow pasture on Verda Lane

To the Editor: I just voted on the Keizertimes web poll.  My realistic vote is to extend Claggett Creek Park, Although        I would prefer it remain the way it is.  As a park, the homestead could be utilized as a museum, perhaps a wedding venue, such as Log House Garden on Windsor Island Road. So much of Keizer has changed, keeping some of it would help retain pride in my hometown.  I was born and raised in Keizer, and am still in contact with many of my classmates (McNary class of 1976) and my siblings’ classmates.  There is something very special about people reared in Keizer—I always say “It’s the water,”  but truly, I believe it’s the surrounding farmland, the connection with our roots that makes us all so very special. My family home was the first one built in Palma Ciea; we were surrounded by cherry and filbert orchards, most of them are gone now.  Please keep Keizer Keizer. Toni Gottfried Bend,...

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