Old DNA evidence leads to conviction in murders
In a trial that showed the persuasive power of DNA evidence, a man accused of killing an elderly Lake Oswego couple was found guilty Wednesday afternoon, 27 years after the killings.
Ryan Lawrence Anthony was found guilty on all counts related to the killings of Ottilia and Casper Volk in 1980.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 6.
Anthony was arrested by Lake Oswego Police in April. DNA evidence made it possible to indict Anthony on two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of felony murder.
The multiple counts stem from different theories about how Anthony could have committed the crimes.
Ottilia Volk was 78 years old and her husband, Casper, was 84 at the time of the stabbings. Anthony, who at the time was named Larry Anthony, was divorced from the Volk's granddaughter, who is now named Diann Murphy.
The case was officially reopened in August 2005. Lake Oswego Police Detective Jon Harrington presented the Oregon State Police Crime Lab with evidence for DNA analysis, with the hunch that it could lead to the killer.
Harrington said he learned about modern evidentiary techniques from his work with the Clackamas County Interagency Major Crimes Team.
After another Clackamas County cold case was resolved, a relative of the Volk's contacted Lake Oswego police, to see whether evidence from the crime scene could be analyzed.
'I took a look at the evidence and realized there was some blood evidence that had been collected and had never been tested through DNA analysis,' said Harrington.
He gave the crime lab a blood-stained gold towel and white pillowcase.
In early April, crime lab officials contacted Harrington and said they had matched the DNA to Anthony.
'Both moments were really watershed moments in the case,' Harrington said, referring to finding the evidence and receiving the crime lab results.
Anthony was then arrested. The 49 year old was working in the computer lab at Portland Community College.
In Clackamas County Circuit Court, Anthony's defense was that he had stopped by the Volks' home, found their dead bodies and attempted to move them because he didn't want other relatives to find the gruesome scene.
Police did not find cash in Casper Volk's wallet, though he was known to keep large amounts of cash at home.
Clackamas County Deputy District Attorney Greg Horner said Anthony was involved in dealing drugs at the time.
Although Anthony was a prime suspect at the time of the killings, police did not think they had enough evidence to convict him.
'It's the most interesting case I've ever worked on in Lake Oswego,' said Harrington. 'It's interesting to resurrect something this age and be able to find closure.'