Karl Anthony Terry
On August 7, 1994 a man and his sons went fishing for the day in Portland Oregon. One of the sons decided he wanted to wander on the banks for a while and stumbled upon a body not far away. The boy went and got his brother and his dad. When the father went to investigate he found not one, but two bodies. One was in a sleeping bag. He notified the police.
It was quickly discovered that the two bodies were those of brothers, Jeffrey and Dale Brown. There was no weapon found near the bodies but it was obvious that they had been stabbed with some sort of large knife or as they would later determine, sword of some kind.
One of the first places the investigators went after the crime scene was Jeffrey Brown's apartment. The landlord let them in. They looked around and saw a jacket inside a backpack but they did not take anything until they could get a warrant to make their search official. They interviewed those who lived around there and someone described seeing a man leaving the apartment around 9:30 the night before.
Whether it was the description from the witness or just talking to the victims family they were quickly led to Karl Anthony Terry. Terry would admit seeing the brothers the day before. Terry would claim that Jeffrey had invited him over to celebrate his brother's birthday. It would be reported that Karl Terry and Jeffrey Brown belonged to an organization called “Order of the Black Dove.” I attempted to do a Internet search on this organization but seemingly the only place it existed was in this case. I could find no other true references to it. However, investigators would claim that Terry had journals that described the organization as “celebrating violence and other anti-social behavior.”
Terry would tell authorities that he had met them at Jeffrey's apartment about 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon and after drinking a few beers they had decided to go camping. Terry would claim that Jeffrey had brought a Samurai or Ninja knife with him that he owned. He said once at the river they drank more beer and the brothers had argued on where to camp. Terry would claim to have left the area around 8:00 that evening but witnesses would claim to see all three men together around 9:00 and then Terry alone around 9:15.
Investigators were already leery of the story that Terry was telling and so on August 9th, just two days after the bodies were found one of the detectives called Terry and asked if he would be willing to take a lie detector test the following day. He agreed but then refused the following day.
On August 19th investigators got a search warrant for Terry's home. They had also gotten one for Jeffrey Brown's home and had the jacket found in the backpack sent to forensics. On August 22nd Terry not only agreed but participated in a lie detector test. When he was informed that he had failed the test he began talking to the police. According to the new story Terry was telling, the brothers started fighting and that Dale had killed Jeffrey and that he had killed Dale in defense of Jeffrey. He agreed to take detectives out to search the scene for the weapon but it started getting dark and the search was suspended until the next day after failing to find the weapon. Terry had agreed to continue to help on the following day and so, not completely ready to arrest him, officers took him home. The next day they returned to his home and found a note on the door stating that he was no longer planning to cooperate with investigators. The investigators continued their search for the weapon without Terry's help and found a Samurai sword with blood on it. They arrested Terry later that day.
Forensic analysis would find both Jeffrey and Dale Brown's blood on both the sword and the jacket that had been found in the backpack in Jeffrey's apartment. The jacket was proven to belong to Karl Terry. Along with these findings, at his trial in 1995 an inmate would testify that Terry had admitted to killing the men saying that he wanted out of the Order of the Black Dove and the only way to do so was to kill Jeffrey with a “big knife.” The jury convicted him and on November 24, 1995 Karl Anthony Terry was sentenced to death on two counts of aggravated murder. It seems his latest appeal was made in 2013 in which his conviction and sentence were affirmed and no opinion was released by the courts.
As I have said in a few of my previous blogs dealing with Oregon and their action, or inaction as it is, of the death penalty, they do not seem to be in much of a hurry to execute these orders. Unlike a few of my previous cases from the area Terry's sentence has stood the test of time and was not overturned. An article that I read pertaining to the Oregon Death Row put into perspective just how inactive the practice is in Oregon. The article was published in 2008 and Texas at that time was leading the country in executions. From 1982 to 2008 Oregon had executed only two people, both of whom had voluntarily ended their appeals and pushed for the death chamber. In that same time frame Texas had executed 405 inmates. It is not as if the Oregon legislature has ruled the death penalty unconstitutional or abolished it. They are still sentencing defendants to death but seemingly doing nothing once they get there.