BAKER CITY — Bob Borders isn’t sure whose voice woke him up Monday night at his home on Taggert Lane north of Baker City.
Was it the voice of someone who wanted to do him harm, or was it the voice of his protector?
The way everything turned out, the 65-year-old Borders is more inclined to believe he was protected when 23-year-old Colby James Hedman arrived as his door and entered his home about 10:30 p.m. Monday.
Borders, who works part-time at Thatcher’s Ace Hardware, retired from his job as a hospital administrator about eight years ago.
Borders said he was home alone asleep in his chair in the living room when Hedman happened along Taggert Lane on Monday night.
Police believe Hedman stole a Toyota pickup truck from the man he is accused of murdering in Walla Walla, Washington, just a few hours before he arrived on the Borders’ property just north of Baker City.
After Hedman was taken into custody, he told police he had run out of gas and had gone to the Borders’ home where he found the Ford pickup with keys in it and drove away.
Borders said he called the dispatch center about 10:40 p.m. Monday to report that his Ford pickup had been stolen.
Borders did not know that the man he watched drive away was a murder suspect.
Hedman is being held on $1 million bail at the Baker County Jail on a Walla Walla warrant charging him with the first-degree murder of Kyle Jordan Martz, 35, of Walla Walla.
The Walla Walla Police Department believes the meeting that led to Martz’s death was a random encounter between the two men who did not know each other.
Borders said his wife, Robbie, who turns 60 next week, had gone to Boise that day. There were no lights on in the house and no indication that anyone was home when Hedman arrived.
“I heard a voice — that’s what woke me up,” Borders said.
But no one was there.
Border’s living room chair sits just three steps above his “man cave,” which is separated from the front room by a sliding door. The sliding door is usually always open. But on Monday night, for some reason, it was closed, Borders said.
“I was grateful he didn’t come all the way in,” he said of the intruder.
It’s in retrospect that Borders wonders just who it was who woke him up.
“I feel that God was watching over me big time and watching over Robbie,” he said. “Maybe it was God waking me up and saying: ‘Bob, you’re in big trouble!’”
As he reported the crime, he watched Hedman drive away, and then stop on Old Trail Road just about 100 yards from Taggert Lane.
Hedman appeared to be moving things from the Toyota pickup he’d been driving to Borders’ Ford pickup.
According to an affidavit in support of a probable cause arrest document filed in Baker County Circuit Court, deputies Gabe Maldonado and Craig Rilee confronted Hedman, who refused to follow their commands to come over to talk to them.
The report says Hedman ignored their instructions at least four times and ultimately walked away from them.
He next went to the Toyota pickup, removed a suitcase and walked north down the eastbound freeway lane away from the officers, who were separated from him by a fence and high grass.
Rilee secured the pickup, and then drove to the opposite side of the freeway looking for Hedman. In the meantime, Maldanado traveled eastbound on the freeway looking for the suspect, the report stated.
Hedman then returned to the Toyota pickup while officers searched for him along West Airport Lane.
Meanwhile, Borders said Hedman returned to his Taggert Lane property where he earlier had seen Borders’ 2000 Jeep Wrangler.
During his first visit, Hedman had removed items from the Jeep, such as tools, a compound bow and arrows, and put them inside the pickup truck before driving off in it, Borders said.
This time, when Hedman returned to his property, Borders was not just awakening from an evening nap and defenseless. He said he was armed, the doors were locked, and all the lights in the house were on.
Borders was struck by how “brazen” Hedman was to proceed just like before onto his property and take another vehicle.
“He knew what he had done, and he was in a flight mode and he was going to do anything he could to get away,” Borders said.
As Hedman drove away in the Jeep, he traveled west on Old Trail Road and headed toward Chandler Lane, Borders said.
The court documents stated that Rilee watched as Borders sped down Taggert Lane in the Jeep. He and Oregon State Police troopers Andrew McClay and Tim Schuette followed the vehicle.
Hedman drove onto the eastbound freeway lanes and Maldonado drove across the median to intercept him, the report stated.
Hedman refused to stop as Maldonado followed him with his patrol car emergency lights and siren activated.
Hedman eventually drove through a barbed wire fence in the barrow pit, damaging about 100 feet of fence, and returned to Old Trail Road.
Hedman then drove back to the freeway at the Chandler Lane crossing, about 5 miles north of Baker City, and was blocked by the OSP troopers’ patrol cars as he attempted to turn westbound onto the eastbound lanes of travel. Borders said his recently restored Jeep, valued at about $10,000, was totaled in the crash. The police cars received minor damage.
Hedman was taken into custody without further incident. He also is being held at the jail on Baker County charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, two counts; second-degree criminal mischief, two counts; attempting to elude police, reckless driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver involved in an accident.
Borders said police did not provide him with any details about Hedman’s other charges during the investigation of his stolen vehicles. He and his wife learned that Hedman was a murder suspect the next morning after reading about the crime on the internet.
“It scared the living daylights out of us when we found out about it,” he said.
They realize many things could have gone terribly wrong that night.
His wife was on Cedar Street, just a few miles from home, when her husband called police. He alerted her of the trouble and she turned around and waited in her car in the Safeway parking lot until the incident was over, Borders said.
“I’m just so thankful she wasn’t 30 minutes earlier and was in the driveway when he was there,” he said.
And although his prized Jeep was totaled and his pickup truck, which has sentimental value to him, was damaged, Borders said he is glad Hedman ran out of gas near his home instead of a mile or two in either direction where the outcome might have been different.
“We’re just thankful the police officers responded as quickly as they did and that nobody got hurt — and that we got him off the street before he was able to kill somebody else,” Borders said.