Judge still to decide Gillmores fate
Company, owned by convicted murderer, promised to employ Gillmore after release, but now won't because of 'restrictions'
A Marion County judge heard arguments Wednesday, Jan. 2, but did not make a decision in an unusual lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Oregon Parole Board's decision to release the so-called 'jogging rapist' on Jan. 18.
Following the hearing, Judge Paul Lipscomb's assistant said a decision would likely come by the end of next week.
The parole board decided in October to release Richard Troy Gillmore, who admitted to committing multiple rapes in East County in the 1970s and 1980s, including the rape of former Troutdale resident Tiffany Edens, who was 13 at the time of the attack. The decision came despite the finding that he remains a danger to the health and safety of others.
The co-plaintiffs, the Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk and Edens, accuse the board of two improprieties: failing to notify Edens of the parole hearing and failing to provide a written, detailed rationale for its decision. Both of these actions are required under Oregon law.
Edens' attorney, Douglas Beloof, believes it's the first time either a crime victim or the Multnomah County district attorney has sued the parole board.
Although the board found that Gillmore is still dangerous, the board can legally issue a release order if it finds the offender can be 'adequately controlled with supervision and mental health treatment' in the community, which it did in Gillmore's case. But, with that finding, the law also requires the board to provide 'in writing the detailed bases of its decisions.'
'What supervision? What treatment? Where in the community?' asked Deputy District Attorney Darian Stanford at Wednesday's hearing. '(The board) doesn't say.'
This is the aspect of the suit that most seemed to concern the judge.
'If there is anything in this record that suggests why the board concluded that he is treatable in the community, I haven't found it,' Lipscomb said in a lengthy exchange with Assistant Attorney General Tom Castle, who represented the board.
Castle argued that a detailed release plan is typically devised by the supervising agency - in this case, Multnomah County Department of Corrections - after the decision to release.
'After the board has made its decision, that's when the specifics of the plan are detailed as to where he is going to be getting mental health treatment, where he is going to be living, who is going to be overseeing him,' Castle said.
The seeming conflict between a law that requires written, detailed bases for decisions and a parole board that does not consider a detailed release plan in its decision-making was recurrent throughout the hearing.
'Doesn't it seem we have the cart before the horse here?' Lipscomb said.
Due to the litigation, Parole Board Chairman Steven Powers declined to comment in an interview on the basis for its decision to release Gillmore. He did say that, in general, a detailed release plan is devised after the decision to release, and that the board 'uses its knowledge and expertise in making its release decisions, which includes knowledge of community resources.'
Although there was no detailed release plan available for the board to consider in its decision on Gillmore, it did consider a parole plan submitted by Gillmore himself.
Again, this is typical, according to an affidavit filed by Board Member Candace Wheeler.
'The plan contains the offender's proposed housing, employment, treatment, and general plans for transition back into the community,' the affidavit states. 'The board knows that the plan's specifications will likely change if the offender is released.'
And: 'The board considers public safety in reviewing the parole plan.'
Promise of employment
Gillmore's parole plan includes a letter from Phillip DeMeyer, owner of Polycoating Systems, which provides home treatments, stating that DeMeyer will hire Gillmore upon his release.
DeMeyer was convicted of murder and four counts of first-degree robbery in 1989 in Lane County. Although he was sentenced to life in prison, a letter from DeMeyer to a Lane County judge regarding restitution payment states that he was released on Aug. 14, 2006.
Polycoating Systems has an active Web site with an address listed in Lake Oswego. But Debbie Russell, a Lake Oswego business license specialist, said the company was never licensed in the city, which is required by law.
When the number for Polycoating Systems listed on its Web site was called, a man answered the phone as 'Phil.' When told the reason for the call, the man declined to give his full name and said that Polycoating Systems was 'disbanded.'
Later, the man stated in a voicemail to The Outlook, 'We are unable to employ (Gillmore) at this point in time because of his restrictions' but in the future 'we would love to support him' to 'make him a better human being.'
In a follow-up call, the man again refused to reveal his name, or the company on whose behalf he was speaking, referring to himself only as a decision-maker for a company formerly known as Polycoating Systems. In that call, the man said he won't hire Gillmore because Gillmore cannot work for a business that deals with the public.
Polycoating Systems is the only potential employer mentioned in the parole plan submitted by Gillmore. All physically able offenders on parole supervision are required to 'find and maintain gainful full-time employment, approved schooling, or a full-time combination of both,' according to general conditions for parole provided by Powers.
Powers said he recognized DeMeyer's name from Gillmore's parole plan, but would not comment further.
'They're proposing under this scheme to check later. First the decision, then we'll look and see if the decision can stand,' Lipscomb observed at the hearing, regarding the board's practice of releasing without a release plan. 'It may be that the failure on the board's part is enough to send this case back for a do-over.'