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Milton-Freewater man to take deal in murder case

Court roundup: Murder, manslaughter defendants also had case updates Wednesday
Phil Wright

East Oregonian

Published on December 13, 2017 10:19AM

Last changed on December 13, 2017 5:56PM

Conor Michael Dayton

Conor Michael Dayton

Milton-Freewater murder defendant Conor Michael Dayton has a deal with the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office.

Dayton, 24, appeared in circuit court Wednesday morning in Pendleton via video from the county jail. His attorney, Herman Bylenga of Pendleton, stood at his side and announced to the court the sides reached an agreement. No one gave details of the deal.

The state accused Dayton of killing Marcos Gutierrez Rodriguez under a Milton-Freewater bridge in May and burning the body to cover up the crime. Dayton has previously pleaded not guilty to murder and abuse of the corpse.

Circuit Judge Christopher Brauer asked Dayton if he understood there was a “negotiated disposition” in the case and Dayton responded, “Yes, sir.”

Brauer set Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. for Dayton’s change of plea.

• The court checked the status of two more homicide cases. Evan John Freel, 18, has pleaded not guilty to murder and first-degree criminal mistreatment in the June 2016 death of his 5-month-old son, Dominic. Defense attorney Kara Davis said she is waiting for a new psychological evaluation of Freel, which should come in the next two weeks.

• And Angela Fix, 41, of Pilot Rock, can participate in her defense. The state accused Fix of setting the fire in July that killed Larry Castro, 77, at his Pilot Rock home. She has pleaded not guilty to first-degree arson and second-degree manslaughter.

Davis told Brauer that Fix does not have “an aid and assist issue.” She said a miscommunication with Pendleton psychologist Terry Templeman led to his finding that Fix could not engage with the case when she actually can.

Davis said she could not provide more details due to client confidentiality.

Fix appeared via video from the jail and agreed to sign a waiver to a speedy trial. Brauer set Jan. 17 for the next updates on Freel and Fix.


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