Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters is confident robbery was the motive behind the slaying of an Ashland man earlier this month.
Now it's up to the courts to decide the fate of two Medford men who've been arrested and charged with Frank Damiano's murder, he said.
"I think at this point we have closure to this case, except for the trial," Winters said at a press conference today.
Roommates Othon Robert Campos Jr., 41, and Merlin Elmo Bound III, 34, are accused of robbing and killing 62-year-old Damiano of Ashland. Bound was arrested at his Medford home on Oct. 15 and remains in the Jackson County Jail without bail. He has been indicted on two counts of murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree burglary. Court records show a pre-trial conference has been scheduled for Nov. 4.
Campos was apprehended on Saturday in Vancouver, Wash., and remains in the Clark County Jail awaiting extradition. A grand jury indicted him on the same charges as Bound last week, along with an additional charge of aggravated felony murder.
"He became a person of interest on Oct. 11," Winters said. "At that time we couldn't discuss the fact we were looking for him."
After the sheriff's department put out word to police agencies in Vancouver and Portland — where Campos was thought to have traveled — U.S. marshals tracked him to an undisclosed location in Vancouver. Winters wouldn't comment on specifics regarding the arrest but praised law enforcement for being able to track Campos down.
"This was handled expeditiously and very quickly," Winters said.
Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert has said Campos is suspected of being the one who carried out Damiano's murder. He likely will be extradited back to Jackson County to face his charges sometime this week unless he fights the extradition.
"Then it'll take longer," Heckert said. "We just have to prove to Washington he was, in fact, the person we were looking for."
Damiano, who was also known by the name Tony Della Penna, was found dead at his home in the Bear Creek Mobile Home Park outside Ashland during a welfare check by police.
"He hadn't been seen for a couple of days," Winters said. "Some of his neighbors were concerned."
Winters said Damiano died from a "sharp force trauma," but would not elaborate or comment on the property taken from the home. Heckert said it appears Damiano and Campos knew each other, but specifics on their relationship is not known.
"How well or whether he was just an acquaintance is not super clear at this point," Heckert said. "There isn't anything to suggest so far Mr. Bound knew the victim or had met the victim in the past."
— Ryan Pfeil