HERMISTON, OR - The Umatilla County District Attorney says he plans to drop the murder charges against a man from Irrigon who shot and killed a man from Hermiston.
District Attorney Daniel Primus says a grand jury decided on Tuesday, that there was not sufficient evidence to indict 22-year-old Timothy A. Kelly for the murder of 25-year-old Daniel Leonard Dechand.
Investigators say Kelly admitted to shooting Dechand on February 4th, just outside the city of Hermiston on Sunshine Lane. Dechand's friend, 51-year-old David Wayne Newton drove Dechand to the hospital, where he died later that day from multiple gunshot wounds.
Sheriff deputies arrested Kelly a few days later when he turned himself in for questioning. A judge charged him with murder and set his bail at $1,000,000.
Primus says after several interviews with Kelly, and the eye-witness account from Newton however, there was substantial evidence that Kelly may have shot Dechand in self defense, while Dechand was trying to rob him while the two sat in a vehicle.
Primis says Kelly cried as he told detectives Dechand was his friend, and that he hadn't wanted to hurt him. He told investigators that when Dechand was robbing him, they told each other they were armed. Kelly said when he refused to give up his property, Dechand reached under his seat as if to grab a gun, which is when Kelly fired his weapon.
After his third interview, Primus says Kelly led a group of detectives to the rock pile off of Sunshine Road, where he hid the firearm he used to shoot Dechand.
The Grand Jury heard testimony from Newton, along with investigators from the Umatilla and Morrow County Sheriff's Offices, the Oregon State, Pendleton, Hermiston, Umatilla, and Boardman Police Departments, along with the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics team.