EUGENE - A Eugene man accused of torturing and killing a nurse was found fit to stand trail.
Jonathon Lee Powell, 20, is accused of beating and strangling 67-year old Margaret Larsen, a respected nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, at her home in 2006. Larsen had allowed Powell, a friend of her grandchildren, to move into her home when he needed a place to stay.
After his arrest, Powell told police that he beat Larsen all night before strangling her during a dispute that began when she asked him to move out, according to court papers. He had been living at her home for about year prior to her death.
According to court papers, a neighbor discovered Larsen's body the following day. The woman's hands were bound behind her back with duct tape and rope and she had been beaten.
He allegedly told detectives that he decided to strangle her so he would know what it felt like to kill someone, a prosecutor wrote in a court filing. Afterward, he loaded some of his things into her car, which he told police he planned to steal.
A judge sent Powell to the Oregon State Hospital following an evaluation by a clinical psychologist who concluded he was mentally unfit to participate in court proceedings. The evaluation and report are sealed.
He was treated for more than 18 months at the state mental hospital.
Powell returned to Lane County last month, and Circuit Judge Charles Carlson determined that he is now able to understand the nature of the proceedings against him and can participate in his defense.
Powell is scheduled to enter pleas to four counts of aggravated murder later this month in Lane County Circuit Court.