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St. Helens stabbing suspect charged

Brent Redd Jr. will return to state mental hospital after arraignment
by: Courtesy photo, Brent Redd Jr.

The mental health patient suspected of stabbing his caseworker to death in St. Helens was charged with murder May 24.

As expected, the Columbia County Grand Jury indicted Brent Redd Jr. with murder when it convened last week. Future court dates will be set now that the suspect has been released from a Portland hospital where he was recovering from apparent self-inflicted knife wounds to his neck.

Redd was admitted to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center's intensive care unit May 20 after police found the body of Columbia County Mental Health caseworker Jennifer Warren in his St. Helens apartment. She died from knife wounds on what was meant to be a routine medication delivery to the CCMH patient, who in 2007 pleaded guilty expect for insanity to the attempted murder of his mother in Wasco County.

Investigators believe Redd's injuries were self-inflicted, said St. Helens Police Chief Steve Salle.

Police said Redd called 9-1-1 to report the stabbing around 8 a.m. on May 20. He reportedly ran when officers arrived at his door.

The suspect was transferred from intensive care to a standard hospital room under the 24-hour watch of a rotating group of St. Helens Police officers. He was booked into the Columbia County Jail on May 27.

St. Helens Police Sgt. Phillip Edwards is leading the Columbia County Major Crimes Team investigation.

Redd was living in St. Helens under care of CCMH, a nonprofit tasked by the state Psychiatric Security Review Board to supervise people who are found to have committed crimes by reason of insanity.

Redd was conditionally released from the Oregon State Hospital in 2010 to begin the process of reintegrating into society. As part of his 20-year punishment for the attempted murder, Redd has a curfew and lives under numerous restrictions, including mandated visits with mental health professionals.

Oregon State Hospital officials revoked Redd's release following the murder charge. He will return to confinement at the state mental hospital following a not-yet-scheduled arraignment.

Some, including Warren's sister, have criticized Columbia County Mental Health's choice to send a lone caseworker to

the home of a man with a history of violence.

Salle, a CCMH board member, said the Psychiatric Security Review Board's director has had talks with Gov. John Kitzhaber about conducting an internal review of its operations in the wake of the slaying. Those discussions are expected to continue.

Review board Executive Director Mary Claire Buckley was unavailable for comment as of this report. A staff member in her office said employees for the board have been instructed not to speak to the media on this matter.

There are around 615 people under the authority of the Psychiatric Security Review Board with nearly 415 of those living in Oregon communities on conditional release.

Meanwhile, Warren's friends, family and coworkers are mourning the untimely demise of the 10-year veteran of CCMH. The agency has received numerous calls of support from the community since her death.

'Jennifer was a beloved, dedicated and respected staff member of CCMH,' said Director Roland Migchielsen in a May 25 statement. 'And we are working closely with our staff and our clients to provide support and counsel during this difficult time.'

A June 3 funeral for Warren is set for 1 p.m. at St. Helens High School.

How you can help

If you would like to help the Warren Family, an account under the name, 'Jennifer Warren Family Account,' is accepting donations at US Bank.