Oregon inmate indicted on murder charges

Inmate indicted on murder

James Samuel DeFrank, Jr. appeared in Malheur County Court Wednesday via video from the Snake River Correctional Institution, according to court sources. He’s charged with murder in the death of fellow inmate Chris Soren Lange.

DeFrank was convicted of murder in Multnomah County back in 1990 for the death of a Vietnamese immigrant during a robbery gone wrong.

Lange’s beating and subsequent death occurred in May but only came to light in August after another incident at Snake River in which an inmate was shot and wounded by a corrections officer.

I asked Jeanine Hahn with the Oregon Department of Corrections Public Affairs department about the agency’s policy on releasing information about inmate deaths.

This was her response: “The Department does not have a policy that speaks specifically to releasing information about inmate deaths, but it is our practice to be transparent on inmate issues and incidents that would be of interest to the media and the public. In this case our office missed the release. There was quite a bit of time between the actual assault and inmate Lange‚Äôs death, and our office was involved in several projects during the May/June timeframe, and we truly just missed it. I take full responsibility for this oversight. As soon as the media/we realized the error, we have attempted to communicate as much information about the incident as possible without compromising the integrity of the investigation.”

See the grand jury indictment against James DeFrank here.

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The Prez is coming to town

Bruce Ely / The Oregonian

Once when attending a career-building seminar aimed at broadcast journalists, the guest speaker, who’d had years of experience in this industry, issued a specific word of caution to us up-and-comers about our resume tapes.

Those are the tapes we desperately send out to news directors in markets higher than the one in which we currently work, hoping something in the first ten seconds doesn’t induce a gag reflex and prompt the tape to be yanked out. We call them tapes, but nowadays, it’s a dvd.

The lecturer said, “Don’t put the president’s-in-town story on your resume reel. Because EVERYBODY puts it on there. And it does not make you unique. It doesn’t mean you’re a great journalist. It simply means, you can adequately cover the story when the president comes to town.”

He was right.

Covering the president, while an extreme honor, merely means that you passed the security clearance at the federal level to get a press credential. You survived the world’s biggest hurry-up-and-wait drill. And you and your crew managed to not screw up your feed, or botch your audio, as you collected the key moments of the event (the entrance, the standing ovation, the exit) usually from a platform WAYYY in the back of the room.

Not to sound cynical, but that’s really what it amounts to be.

Still.

Tomorrow, President Obama comes to town. The last time he was here, he drew some 72-75,000 people to the bowl in Waterfront Park. It was, by all acccounts, an historic day. It caught the attention of the national media, it was the largest gathering of his 2008 campaign, and by golly, it kinda put Portland on the map.

The Oregonian newspaper has the A1 page proudly displayed in its newsroom.

Which is why I’m looking forward to his return. Not for any sort of political reason. You’d be hard pressed to figure out which political party I ascribe to. (hint: none)

Given the context of how much has happened since he took office, I enjoy the context of having the Big Man step on our turf. I appreciate the weight of the news event. And I love that he’s here because we have a hotly-contested gubernatorial campaign, which can only serve to energize the electorate.

I know. That sounds kind of wonky-wonk…but it’s true.

I dig it.

My only dilemma is that I will be filling in as an anchor tomorrow, which I just dumbly realized sitting here on my couch. Evon, the scheduler at work, asked me to co-anchor last week, and even though I spent the weekend telling people about Obama’s pending visit on Wednesday, I did not realize until roughly two minutes ago that I get to announce to our KATU viewers tomorrow evening: “The President’s in town.”

That’s pretty rad.

The reporter in me would rather be on scene, but hey, the anchor clip might look good on a resume tape, no?

(BTW, Mr. Boss-man, if you’re reading this, I will perform my professional duties to the best of my abilities, in whatever capacity I am asked. All aforementioned content is purely satirical and derivates from my alter-ego.)

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