An Albany man was sentenced to nearly two years in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections on Tuesday morning for his role in a case where a man was shot through the neck.
Duane Strader, 54, had previously pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree burglary in August in Linn County Circuit Court.
The incident occurred at about 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 2 in the 1000 block of 18th Avenue Southeast in Albany. It was initially reported and charged as a home invasion robbery and attempted murder.
Prosecutor Alex Olenick said that Strader was the lookout for two other suspects who entered the victim’s residence.
Olenick asked for a sentence of 30 months in the case due to the harm greater than typical for the charge. The victim — who fled out his bedroom window, climbed over a fence and was found collapsed on a neighbor’s porch — may not be able to speak again and is facing long-lasting impacts from the gunshot wound.
Defense attorney Erik Moeller asked for a sentence of 18 months.
“I think it’s important to note the level of participation,” he said. “He wasn’t in the house. He didn’t pull the trigger.”
Strader told Judge Michael Wynhausen that he was afraid for his own life in the aftermath of the shooting, and got into his car and drove away because he was obeying the instructions of the gunman, Christopher Anderson.
“I’m very sorry this crime ever happened. I wish I somehow could have prevented it,” he said.
He added that he had a limited criminal history in the last 20 years. “I don’t steal and I don’t rob and I don’t hurt people. I didn’t know these crimes were going to happen.”
Strader also said that he and his family have been threatened because he has been cooperating with authorities, and he has been in isolation in the Linn County Jail.
“There was no cooperation with the state in this case,” responded Olenick, who added that Anderson wore a wig when Strader drove him to the victim’s house in the middle of the night.
Wynhausen said he suspected Strader knew that something nefarious was going on when Strader drove to the victim’s house.
“I understand you were less involved in this, but you were involved,” Wynhausen said.
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He sentenced Strader to 22 months in custody. Strader will be eligible for credit for time served, time off his sentence for good behavior, transitional leave and alternative incarceration programs.
A charge of first-degree robbery was dismissed at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing as part of the negotiated settlement in the case. Strader was initially accused of attempted murder, as well, but that charge was removed as the case progressed.
Anderson was sentenced to 7½ years in prison in August after pleading no contest to a charge of first-degree assault.
Another co-defendant, Ronald Allen McLaughlin, 49, is charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary. McLaughlin is scheduled for a two-day jury trial starting on Dec. 10.
According to a probable cause affidavit in Strader’s case, the accuser, a local man in his 20s, had set up a motion-activated surveillance camera at a bedroom at his residence.
Investigators with the Albany Police Department were able to watch the footage.
Two suspects were inside a bedroom collecting items starting at about 12:30 a.m.
The accuser told authorities that he was coming home when he saw Strader, whom he knew, standing outside of his Jeep Compass in front of his home.
When the accuser walked into his house, someone from behind told him to get on the ground. Instead, the accuser ran to the back bedroom in the house. Just as he shut the door, he was shot, according to the affidavit.
While recovering at Oregon Health Science University, the accuser told investigators that his girlfriend had left him a few days earlier, and the suspects were mainly grabbing property that belonged to her, the affidavit states.
Strader initially denied being at the house. He later asked to talk with investigators again, and admitted to being outside the residence. He said that he didn’t think any crimes were going to be committed, however.
“Duane admitted to knowing there was a gunshot, and that he ended up transporting the other two suspects away from the location,” wrote the Albany Police Department officer who compiled the probable cause affidavit.
“Duane insisted that he never knew that anyone was going to be shot, but admitted that before getting to the location that at least one person said ‘they were going to scare (the accuser),’” the affidavit states.