An Albany man is accused of attempted murder, robbery, assault and other charges stemming from two separate November incidents.
His unusual haircut prompted police to connect him with both crimes.
John Dakota Lyon, 22, was booked into Benton County Jail on Saturday, Nov. 27 on charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, menacing, third-degree theft, first-degree robbery and two counts of unlawful use of weapon.
An alleged attempted murder
According to court documents, on or about Nov. 15, Lyon unlawfully and intentionally attempted to murder another man. He was booked into jail on attempted murder, first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon charges.
A probable cause affidavit for the case states Albany Police Department Officer Erin Bagley responded to a report of an assault, called in at around 10:32 p.m., near the Corvallis Clinic, 633 North Albany Road NW.
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The caller, a nearby gas station employee, reported a man was bleeding from his head. The victim had told the caller he was attacked, according to the affidavit.
Bagley arrived at the scene to find Albany Fire Department medics providing aid to the victim, according to the affidavit. The officer recognized the victim as a transient. According to the affidavit, an Albany fire medic told Bagley that the victim had several lacerations on his head. He was transported to Samaritan Albany General Hospital.
Bagley then arrived at the hospital and observed four deep lacerations on the victim’s head, according to the affidavit. The victim told Bagley an unknown man ran up on him and attacked him. The victim said he had seen the culprit before in the same area of town but did not know who he was.
After receiving medical treatment, the victim was transported to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital to treat a skull fracture.
A unique haircut
Two days later, on Nov. 17, Albany police Officer Ryan Knoll called OHSU to see if the victim was still at the facility. Knoll was permitted to speak with the victim over the phone.
The victim told Knoll he was hanging around the lighted area in front of the Corvallis Clinic when a man came up and hit him with a hard, blunt object on the head multiple times.
The victim provided Knoll with a general description of the white, male adult, saying he had a “really strange haircut,” according to the affidavit. The victim described the haircut as being shaved on top and in the front but being long in the back. Knoll later discovered this hairstyle is sometimes referred to as a “skullet.”
During the phone call, the victim said he didn’t know the suspect’s name, but he had spoken to him in the same area of Albany in the past. The victim said he could probably recognize the suspect in a photo lineup.
Identifying the suspect
After sharing the culprit's description and alleged haircut with other APD officers, Sgt. Dan Jones located and contacted the suspect, identified as Lyon.
Knoll then created a sequential six-photograph lineup and had Detective Aaron Sutherland show the photos to the victim at OHSU. The victim identified Lyon, according to the affidavit. On Nov. 24, Knoll notified APD patrol there was probable cause to arrest Lyon for the incident.
At around 11:09 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, officers located Lyon on North Albany Road Northwest and took him into custody. Once at APD, Lyon denied ever seeing the victim or committing the alleged crimes, according to the affidavit.
An alleged robbery
The second case Lyon is facing charges on involves first-degree robbery, unlawful use of weapon, menacing and third-degree theft.
The robbery is said to have taken place Nov. 26 at the North Albany Independent Grocers Alliance.
According to a probable cause affidavit in the case, a store employee reported that a man with long orange hair but bald on top was wearing a Disney “Frozen” backpack and holiday pants when he allegedly stole a knife, straw hat and energy drink from the store.
Based on the description of the suspect, Albany police Officer Sam Posthuma believed the subject to be Lyon. Through former APD investigations involving Lyon, the officer knew of Lyon’s unique hairstyle and his fondness of child themed backpacks.
Posthuma positively identified Lyon as the suspect after watching video surveillance from IGA employees.
A store employee told Posthuma the suspect had entered the store wearing a hat that the store sells. The employee also noticed the suspect drinking an energy drink the store sells. The suspect then grabbed a kitchen knife from a store rack and began walking toward the exit, according to the affidavit.
Two store employees said they told the suspect he needed to pay for the items. At this point, the suspect allegedly told the employees he had a knife as he tried to open it from the packaging.
An arrest is made
Before the robbery investigation, Posthuma recalled that Knoll had probable cause to arrest Lyon for the previous suspected assault.
On Nov. 27, Posthuma spoke with APD Sgt. Alex Johnson who informed him Lyon had been arrested and appeared to be wearing the same clothing from the supermarket surveillance photos. After reviewing footage from Johnson’s body worn camera, Posthuma confirmed that the stolen knife was on Lyon’s person.
Showing up to court
Lyon was arraigned on all charges for both cases in Benton County Circuit Court on Monday, Nov. 29. Christian Strahl was appointed Lyon’s defense attorney for both cases.
Editor's Note: The original version of this article inaccurately reported that John Lyon was arrested on a first-degree murder charge. Lyon was arrested on charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, menacing, third-degree theft, first-degree robbery and two counts of unlawful use of weapon.
Maddie Pfeifer covers public safety for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6091 or Madison.Pfeifer@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @maddiepfeifer_