Accused triple killer found unfit to stand trial

Michael Jefferson Bryant is accused of killing 3 people and accused of trying to kill his mother

Michael Jefferson Bryant, June 24, 2016 (Lane County Sheriff's Office)
Michael Jefferson Bryant, June 24, 2016 (Lane County Sheriff's Office)

EUGENE, Ore. (KOIN) – A Lane County judge has determined a 31-year-old man accused of killing three people is, at this time, unable to aid and assist in his own defense and has temporarily halted the criminal proceedings so the defendant can be evaluated by medical experts.

Michael Jefferson Bryant is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, two counts of first-degree assault, and one count each of aggravated first-degree animal abuse, first-degree arson and felony eluding a police officer.

Bryant is accused of killing his father, Jefferson Stanley Bryant on Nov. 12, 2015 in Springfield.

On Friday, Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley determined Bryant is currently unable to aid and assist with his criminal defense.

Bryant’s criminal defense attorney, Conor Huseby, said Bryant will be transported to the Oregon State Hospital where he will undergo an evaluation and begin treatment.

According to police, after killing his father, Bryant used a bat to try and kill his mother. He then set his family’s home on fire in the 1400 block of Kellogg Road.

When police and firefighters arrived at the home, they found Bryant’s mother who was badly injured. She was able to tell police that her son had fled in the family’s SUV, according to police.

As police were investigating the homicide and attempted homicide, Eugene police received calls for help in the 500 block of West Centennial Blvd. on reports of a pedestrian who was struck and killed. Police identified the pedestrian as Richard Dean Bates.

While investigated the deadly crash, dispatchers received a call for help at Willamette Street and East 5th Avenue. Marc Jay Sanford, died of his injuries, police said. His wife, 48-year-old Lorre Marie Sanford was transported to a hospital and continues to recover.

Police confirm that at least one of the family’s dogs was also killed by Bryant and left inside the house after he lit it on fire.

The indictment against Bryant was filed Nov. 17, 2015. He was arraigned on the indictment on Dec. 1, 2015.

The state hospital must report back, at the very latest, to the court within 180-days to give a status update. The report could come sooner, Huseby said.

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