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Tigard killer won't go free

The Psychiatric Security Review Board decided Wednesday not to release Rex Gorger

SALEM - The Psychiatric Security Review Board in Salem determined Wednesday that a Tigard man sent to the Oregon State Hospital for life for killing one person and seriously wounding two others should not be set free.

In 2002 Rex Gorger was found guilty but insane by a Washington County judge after he went on a rampage that spanned two days around Christmastime in 1998.

'Gorger is an animal that should remain caged for the remainder of his life and not be released into society,' said Rich Bowen, father of 21-year-old Chris Bowen who was killed by Gorger. 'If anything, the state should place him into the prison system to serve out the remainder of his life sentence.'

Gorger confessed to killing Chris Bowen, a former Tigard High School classmate. Bowen was found dead in his apartment Dec. 26, 1998.

Police say Gorger stabbed Bowen 42 times in the neck and chest after Bowen let Gorger into the apartment around 4 a.m.

Gorger was also found guilty but insane for the attempted murder of a stranger 30 hours before he killed Bowen and for assaulting his own father 10 hours after Bowen's murder.

The stranger, 37-year old Theron Marrs of California, was in the parking lot of a Tualatin church headed to a Christmas Eve mass when Gorger jumped him from behind and stabbed him in the back, stomach, arm and thigh. His father, Richard Gorger, was also critically injured by his son in the family's house in Tigard.

During court proceedings a psychiatrist for the defense testified Gorger was psychotic and schizophrenic and should be sent to the State Hospital, and the prosecutor in the case said Gorger was 'a substantial danger to others.'

Following the nearly seven-hour hearing yesterday, Rich Bowen reported that 'much to everybody's surprise, the board decided to keep him in custody - that's what we were hoping would happen.'

However, Bowen added that this latest round was 'just one day in the battle in an ongoing war' because victims must go through this process every two years or sooner if the convicted person applies for a provisional release.

'It's never over for us,' Bowen added. 'The board agreed with the prosecution, who did a fabulous job. The hospital wanted to give him a provisional release. And we learned that since June 2006, he has been given a probational release into his parents' custody on weekends, even though he attacked his father.

'We are supposed to be notified of things like this, and we weren't, so we're very concerned'

Steve Doell, president of Crime Victims United of Oregon, pointed out that 'we occasionally hear about dangerous killers like this going before the State Parole Board. We should not forget that there are some very disturbed and criminally insane people housed at the State Hospital.'

At the 2002 sentencing, Bowen's mother, Teresa, told the judge she was worried that state doctors would eventually let Gorger out, 'and then we'll be right back here again.'

Rich Bowen said the case remains a source of anger and sorrow.

'My family and I are still grief stricken over the loss of my son,' he said. 'A day doesn't go by where I don't think of him. I miss him dearly.'