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DNA evidence in cold case leads to prison sentence

by: Photo provided Frederick Alvin Richey

A man arrested last summer in Gresham for a 26-year-old murder has been sentenced to life in prison.

But exactly how many years that means will be up to the state parole board.

That's because the murder took place in 1984, 'when there was indeterminate sentencing,' said Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Michael McShane. At the time, 'sentencing in the courtroom just didn't mean anything,' McShane said.

Wednesday, Oct. 5, McShane sentenced Frederick Alvin Richey, 57, to life in prison. Richey pleaded no contest last month to a manslaughter charge related to the 1984 murder of Francis Marie Waites of Portland.

Detectives arrested Richey at his daughter's home in Gresham in 2010 and charged him for the rape and murder of Waites, a 28-year-old Portland woman.

McShane said Richey likely will serve 14 to 19 years in prison before he is eligible for parole, which is up to the parole board to grant.

The victim lived alone in the 5200 block of Northeast 24th Avenue in North Portland, where a close friend discovered her body on March 23, 1984, after stopping to give her a ride to work as an auto mechanic.

Court documents show the woman was stabbed in her side while she was in her bedroom. She ran through the kitchen and tried to hide in a rear bedroom. But the suspect broke the door down.

She'd been sexually assaulted. The cause of death was determined to be a second stab wound to the chest, which penetrated the aorta.

Police questioned Richey several times, but he denied knowing the woman. Nine months later, an inmate told his parole officer that Richey, who was his cellmate, confessed to killing the woman. Richey reportedly referred to her by her common-law married name of Jenkins, saying he murdered her over a cocaine deal gone bad.

At the time Richey was in jail awaiting trial for allegedly murdering another Northeast Portland woman - six months after Waites' murder. The women lived about a mile apart.