PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Benjamin Serrato faces the possibility of life in prison for the murder of his boyfriend, Christopher Libert, whose body was found at Dougan Falls early on April 1.
The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office probable cause document said the suspect told them he and Libert had lived together off and on for the past 4 years.
According to investigators, Serrato said Libert was also romantically involved with a woman who had lived with them in the past. The woman told investigators Serrato was trying to end her relationship with Libert. Documents said Serrato gave Libert and ultimatum, but the woman and Libert continued seeing each other without Serrato’s knowledge.
“I believe it upset Mr. Serrato to the point that it led to the death of Mr. Libert,” Sheriff Dave Brown told KOIN.
When investigators spoke to the woman, they said she was visibly upset and worried because she had not heard from Libert since Friday night.
Serrato first told investigators he had last seen Libert on Thursday night, but later admitted that on Friday night he drove Libert from Portland to Dougan Falls. Serrato said Libert intended to kill himself there. Serrato told investigators they said goodbye and he left Libert, but did not know how he intended to commit suicide.
Libert’s body was found with 2 gunshot wounds to the back and front of his head and 11 stab wounds to the neck, chest and back. Investigators said those injuries are “not at all consistent with suicidal violence.”
Undersheriff Pat Bond spoke to campers at Dougan Falls who said they heard a gunshot around 3 a.m. and a car leaving the area about 5 minutes later.
Investigators said the tire tread patterns on Serrato’s car were consistent with the tracks found in the muddy parking lot near where Libert’s body was found.
Serrato is accused of premeditated murder and faces up to life in prison or a $50,000 fine. He has no criminal history and has worked at the same Chevron in Portland for the past 11 years.
He is being held on $2 million bail and ordered not to contact the woman who was involved with Libert.