10-20-2019  6:48 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture


GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Video shows coach disarming, embracing Oregon student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities have released a video that shows part of a former Oregon football star's successful effort to disarm a student who brought a shotgun to a Portland high school.The video released Friday by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office shows Keanon Lowe and...

Parents guilty of starving 5-year-old daughter to death

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A jury has convicted a Redmond couple of starving their 5-year-old adopted daughter to death.The Bulletin reports by unanimous jury verdicts Friday after a weekslong trial, Sacora Horn-Garcia and Estevan Garcia were found guilty of murder by abuse and criminal...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...


Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...


New Emmett Till marker dedicated to replace vandalized sign

GLENDORA, Miss. (AP) — A new bulletproof memorial to Emmett Till was dedicated Saturday in Mississippi after previous historical markers were repeatedly vandalized.The brutal slaying of the 14-year-old black teenager helped spur the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.The...

Parents sue Virginia school district over racist 2017 video

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — The parents of a Virginia student who say their son was assaulted and bullied by his middle school football teammates in an incident captured on video two years ago are suing the school system.The video, which showed football players simulating sex acts on black students...

Team abandons FA Cup qualifier after racial abuse

LONDON (AP) — An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper...


Adam Lambert: Happy to see more LGBTQ artists find success

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert, who rose on the music scene as the runner-up on "America Idol" in 2009, says he's happy to see more mainstream LGBTQ artists find major success."I think it's less taboo to be queer in the music industry now because there's so many cases you can point to like,...

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she's returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...


Where you die can affect your chance of being an organ donor

WASHINGTON (AP) — If Roland Henry had died in a different part of the country, his organs might have been...

Impeachment inquiry puts spotlight on Perry, who shunned it

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long after more flamboyant colleagues flamed out of President Donald Trump's favor amid...

Analysis: Confronted by impeachment, Trump adds to the chaos

WASHINGTON (AP) — The impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump has thrust Washington into a...

Italian experts defuse WWII bomb in northern city

MILAN (AP) — Italian authorities have evacuated 4,000 people from the center of the northern city of...

Bolivians pick between Evo Morales and change in tight vote

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — South America's longest-serving leader was seeking an unprecedented fourth term in...

15 dead after Russian dam collapse floods dormitories

MOSCOW (AP) — At least 15 people are dead after a dam at a small Siberian gold mine collapsed and water...

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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