11-24-2020  9:11 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
MLK Breakfast 2021 Save the Date
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Automatic Recount Initiated for the Gresham Mayoral Contest

Gresham mayoral race currently falls within margin for automatic recount, House District 52 race does not

Portland’s Black Business Owners Struggle to Find Relief

Targeted funding could address disparities in federal aid.

California, Oregon, Washington Issue Virus Travel Advisories

Governors urge people entering their states or returning from outside the states to self-quarantine 

Democrats Won't Reach 2/3rd Supermajority in Legislature

Oregon’s Democratic lawmakers will fall short of winning enough state legislative seats to prevent Republicans from staging walkouts

NEWS BRIEFS

D’artagnan Bernard Caliman Named Meyer Memorial Trust’s New Director of Justice Oregon for Black Lives

Raised in NE Portland's Historic Albina, Caliman is currently the executive director at Building Changes in Seattle ...

Oregon Safeway and Albertsons Shoppers Register Support for Schools and Hunger

$450,000 in emergency grant funding is supporting 159 local schools ...

Oregon Employment Department Begins Issuing 'Waiting Week' Benefits

246,300 Oregonians to receive a combined total of $176 million in benefits in the initial payment run ...

Officials Suggest a Visit to Oregonhealthcare.gov This Thanksgiving Holiday

As gatherings go virtual, families and friends can help each other access health insurance ...

Meyer Memorial Trust Awards $21 Million for Equitable Work in Oregon

The 150 grants will support organizations that work with and grow communities that have long experienced disparities. ...

Hood River man arrested in crash that killed woman, child

HOOD RIVER, Ore. (AP) — A Hood River man has been arrested in a rollover crash that killed two passengers early Tuesday in the Columbia River Gorge, police said. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Noel Hernandez was driving east on Interstate 84 between Hood River and Mosier when his vehicle...

Oregon DOJ lawyer reprimanded for 'inappropriate' treatment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A high-ranking lawyer at the Oregon Department of Justice has been reprimanded and will work with an executive coach after an outside investigation found he violated state policy in an interaction with another lawyer.The investigator found sufficient evidence to support...

Missouri, Bazelak start fast to beat South Carolina 17-10

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz was proud his team wouldn't let the obstacles they've faced this season keep them from success. And he happily congratulated them, COVID-19 worries and all, after the Tigers' 17-10 victory over South Carolina on Saturday night. “Can...

Missouri's Drinkwitz seeking more success vs South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz has some good memories of playing at South Carolina. He hopes to make a few more this week. It was a year ago that Drinkwitz, then the coach at Appalachian State, brought the highly overmatched Mountaineers into Williams-Brice Stadium in...

OPINION

Thanksgiving 2020: Grateful for New Hope and New Direction in Our Nation

This hasn’t been a normal year, and it isn’t going to be a normal Thanksgiving. ...

No Time to Rest

After four years under a Trump administration, we see there is a lot of work to be done. ...

Could America Learn a COVID-19 Lesson from Rwanda?

As of October 28, in a country of just over twelve million people, they have experienced only 35 deaths from the coronavirus ...

Trump’s Game

Trump’s strategy is clear: maintain control of the Republican Party as the Trump Party, install “acting” officials who will not cooperate with the Biden transition team ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Amid racial reckoning, Grammys honor the Black experience

NEW YORK (AP) — With police brutality continuing to devastate Black families and the coronavirus ravishing Black America disproportionately, the world was driven to the significance of this year’s Juneteenth more than ever before.And Beyoncé knew she wanted to release a song on...

Judge: California can't ban offensive license plates

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California can't enforce a ban vanity license plates it considers “offensive to good taste and decency” because that violates freedom of speech, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in a case filed in March against Department of...

Michigan professor placed on leave after racist remarks

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A science professor at a Michigan university has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated after denying the severity of the coronavirus and using racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs on Twitter.David Eisler, president of Ferris State...

ENTERTAINMENT

BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa react to Grammy noms

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reactions from some of the nominees for the 63rd Grammy Awards: “What??? Who me? Oh my God.” — Megan Thee Stallion, during a livestream after the Recording Academy president and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told the Houston-based rapper about her...

The Weeknd criticizes Grammys over nominations snub

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Weeknd angrily slammed the Grammy Awards, calling them “corrupt” after the pop star walked away with zero nominations despite having multiple hits this year.The three-time Grammy winner criticized the Recording Academy on Tuesday after he was severely...

Review: 'Ma Rainey' is Boseman's final, perhaps finest gift

Chadwick Boseman surges onto the screen as fast-talking trumpeter Levee in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” like a man on an electrified tightrope -- balancing precariously between hope and cynicism, humor and sadness, joy and pain, and love and hate.Unlike with some of...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Amid racial reckoning, Grammys honor the Black experience

NEW YORK (AP) — With police brutality continuing to devastate Black families and the coronavirus ravishing...

Punishing hurricanes to spur more Central American migration

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) — At a shelter in this northern Honduran city, Lilian Gabriela Santos...

Keep the mask: A vaccine won't end the US crisis right away

NEW YORK (AP) — Don’t even think of putting the mask away anytime soon. Despite the expected arrival...

Vatican butler convicted in Benedict XVI leaks case dies

ROME (AP) — Paolo Gabriele, the Vatican butler who was convicted of stealing and leaking Pope Benedict...

Drones to the rescue: Berlin lab seeks quicker virus tests

BERLIN (AP) — A German lab is hoping to cut the time it takes to send coronavirus tests across Berlin by...

UK eases restrictions so families can gather over Christmas

LONDON (AP) — British authorities gave the green light Tuesday to holiday reunions, relaxing restrictions...

MLK Breakfast 2021 Save the Date
By Brian Stimson of The Skanner News

Prosecutors and defense attorneys for murder defendant Jerrin Hickman made their opening arguments before the jury Tuesday morning.
Hickman is being tried for the Dec. 31, 2007 murder of 25-year-old Christopher Monnet outside a party at 8407 N.E. Thompson St. The 31-year-old licensed massage therapist maintains his innocence against the charges.
Prosecutor Rod Underhill told the jury that as everyone at the party waited to countdown to the New Year, Hickman had something else on his mind.
"Jerrin Hickman was sliding on a ski mask," Underhill told the jury. "Jerrin Hickman pointed a gun at the unarmed Christopher Monnet and fired several times."
In the state's presentation of their opinion of what happened the night of the murder, Underhill painted a version of Hickman that was bent on revenge following a "disrespectful" encounter at a party.
The New Year's Eve party was full of his friends and relatives – many of whom were estranged from Hickman, according to his mother, Terri Miller.
Because of Monnet's size – he was 6'3" and 369 pounds -- Underhill believes Hickman walked away from their argument to "change the rules of the game" and get a gun. Just seconds prior to Hickman's arrival at the party, Monnet had been engaged in a fist fight with a different individual, which Underhill downplayed as "unrelated."
Underhill's eyewitnesses who he says can all pinpoint Hickman directly as the shooter – are all convicted felons, many of them multiple times over. Many are currently serving jail sentences or awaiting sentencing for crimes. They are testifying under the possibility or assumption that they will receive lenient treatment.
Underhill says his witnesses all saw a similar thing – a man matching Hickman's short, stocky build pull a ski mask over his face, approach Monnet and fire multiple shots. In all, the shooter fired eight rounds from a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun that had been stolen from a residence in August 2006. Underhill says police believe a cousin of Hickman's – who is also related to or acquainted with many of the state's witnesses – stole the gun. He says this circumstantially links Hickman to the murder weapon, which had no DNA or fingerprints on it after it was found several days after the crime scene had been cleared. Hickman's DNA, along with other DNA profiles, were found on a ski mask, two shoes and a broken watch found in the vicinity that matches a possible escape pattern.
When the shots rang out, nearly everyone ran from the scene. Within moments, a police squad car pulled near the scene. Originally called for the fight that occurred before the shooting, the officer had no idea a shooting had just occurred. After attempting to detain two Black males running from the party, one witness diverted the attention of the officer to the murder victim.
Hickman was found early the next morning at the Rose City Golf Course, having broken his leg after a fall from a 30 foot embankment.
Throughout both opening statements, defense attorney Patrick Sweeney and prosecutor Underhill vary in their interpretations of the evidence.
According to Sweeney, many of those present at the party who witnessed the shooting have never been identified; nearly all of those pinpointing Hickman are receiving favorable treatment for other crimes they have committed, several that include felon in possession of a firearm; Statements from Dontae Porter – the owner of the ski mask found on the sidewalk near the crime scene – changed several times before matching the state's version of events; and Hickman's behavior following the shooting was consistent with someone with hypothermia and a broken leg trying to reach their longtime girlfriend who is a registered nurse in possession of Hickman's insurance information.
Sweeney encouraged the jury to question the biases and motives of the state's witnesses.

A Point of Contention

During Underhill's opening statements, he referenced that several witnesses receiving preferential treatment under the justice system for their cooperation were "afraid."
One witness, Raymond Grant, violated his agreement with the state.
"He got scared recently," Underhill told the jury, never saying why Grant, a multiple felon facing another felony charge, was scared. "He ignored the agreement to participate and fled the area."
Grant was recaptured and will be testifying for the prosecution.
With the jury out of the room, Sweeney made an objection to the inference that his client was threatening witnesses.
"I want to hear about … evidence that prosecution witnesses are under threat from the defendant," Judge Michael Marcus said. "Without solid evidence, those statements would be inadmissible and prejudicial."
Underhill said Dontae Porter – who was in custody at the time of his questioning regarding the murder – is being relocated with about $1,000 of government funds.
"He's doing it for a reason," Underhill said. "It's fear of retaliation."
Judge Marcus wasn't swayed.
"Unless you have sufficient evidence of intimidation that somehow Mr. Hickman is responsible," Marcus said. "If there is no admissible evidence, it's an improper attempt to influence the jury."
Underhill offered no evidence, only saying he didn't want the defense to bring up the felon status of his witnesses to the defendant's advantage. Underhill said he wanted everything sordid about his witnesses "on the table" so as not to appear as if their witnesses were being bribed into testifying.
"It wasn't an effort to hide that fact," he said.
It isn't the first time the prosecution has attempted to paint Hickman as an unsavory character. In several pre-trial hearings, prosecutor Heidi Moawad and Jeff Howes – who was replaced by Underhill – attempted to establish Hickman as an active gang member. A label that would have been used in front of the jury.
Although evidence emerged that Hickman might have been associated with a gang in his younger years – as were many of his family members and prosecution witnesses according to Miller, Hickman's mother – it was unclear if Hickman still actively associated with them.
Judge Marcus ultimately rejected that request, saying it would unfairly prejudice the jury.


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