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Tinoco enters 'not guilty' plea at arraignment

Teen charged with murdering Forest Grove's Nicole Laube last August


COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS - Jaime Tinoco, seen here at his April 2 arraignment at the Washington County courthouse, has been charged with aggravated murder for the August 2014 slaying of Nicole Laube of Forest Grove. Beaverton-area teenager Jaime Tinoco — arrested April 1 as a suspect in the Aug. 19, 2014, murder of Nicole Laube of Forest Grove — pleaded “not guilty” to the charges leveled against him at the Washington County courthouse April 2.

Tinoco, who turned 18 on April 3, was brought to Washington County Circuit Court in shackles to offer his plea on charges including aggravated murder and unlawful use of a weapon.

The teen was indicted by a grand jury last week for Laube’s stabbing death while she was working at The Commons at Timber Creek apartments in the Cedar Mill area north of Beaverton. Tinoco had lived with his parents across Northwest Barnes Road from the apartment complex where Laube, 29, was slain.

While Tinoco was on probation after being convicted of burglary, harassment and possession of methamphetamine, he was accused of beating and raping a woman in an attack in Eugene in September 2014. Tinoco was in Eugene as part of a county-sponsored program designed to try to re-socialize teens who have been in trouble with the law, but Tinoco slipped away from supervisors during an outing to a University of Oregon football game.

Tinoco was tried as an adult, convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison for the Eugene attack.

In the wake of that crime, and given the proximity of Tinoco’s residence to the apartment complex where Laube was killed, Washington County Violent Crimes Unit detectives began to question Tinoco about the murder of Laube. The information detectives developed led to Tinoco being indicted by a grand jury.

According to Sgt. Bob Ray, spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, although Tinoco was 17 when he was arrested, he was charged as an adult and will be tried as an adult.

“The Juvenile Department has him in custody at a maximum security facility, but at the next court date they will transfer him to our facility (Washington County Jail),” Ray said.

Washington County Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff Lesowski has been assigned to the case. No trial date has yet been set.

Ray said he hopes Tinoco’s arrest brings the family a sense of peace.

“We’re very happy we now have him in custody, and it’s a relief to the family to get this arrest behind them to continue healing,” Ray said.

Rich Jones, Nicole Laube’s father and senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Worship Center in Hillsboro, said the arrest does help begin to address the grief.

“Relief is the right word,” Jones said. “People ask me if I’m happy. No, I’m not, I’m grieved; but I’m very thankful we’ve finally come to this point, because I wasn’t sure we ever would.”

Jones added that he is deeply appreciative of the support from the church congregation.

“There has been amazing church family support,” he said. “From the very beginning, they have surrounded us with love and support.”

Jones does not intend to be at the upcoming court sessions.

“I don’t plan on attending anything except for the victim impact statement,” he explained. “There is no value in being part of it. I want to focus on my daughter’s life. I thank God for every day I had with my daughter, and I want to move on and not fixate on him (Tinoco). The detectives have done an excellent job and I trust them. I will let the process run its course.”

Jones said he does not feel hatred for Tinoco.

“I don’t hate, I just need to put this behind me,” he said. “When you hate someone, you give away part of your heart, and he’s not worthy of that.”

According to Jones, one day, Tinoco will face a higher authority than any judge on Earth.

“There is a day fixed in which he will stand before a judge of much higher authority, and on that day he will be held fully in account and there won’t be any smirking as he did in Eugene (during his rape trial),” Jones said. “I hope the knowledge of that will break his soul, because that’s what he needs. Otherwise there’s no hope for him.”

Nicole Laube’s husband, Chris Laube, expressed gratitude to the detectives who worked on the case.

“I can never say ‘thank you’ enough,” he said.

Given that Tinoco was identified only after he was captured in connection with the attack and rape of the Eugene woman less than a month after Laube’s murder, Chris Laube said the arrest made others safer.

“If (the attack in) Eugene didn’t happen, it would have happened to somebody else,” he said.

Laube said he knew how old Tinoco was, but had steeled himself to see a hardened killer at Tinoco’s arraignment last week. He recalled “sitting there and watching this 17-year-old kid come in.”

“It almost caught me off guard,” Laube said.

Chris Laube is now raising the couple’s son, who just turned 3, at their home in Forest Grove. He also has two older children from a previous marriage, while Nicole Laube’s parents have custody of her 7-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Laube said their son has a difficult time understanding his mother isn’t coming back.

“He knows a bad guy hurt his mom,” Laube said.

Chris Laube said friends, clients and complete strangers have been supportive of their family since his wife’s death. People from across the United States have sent cards and gifts.

“I’m blessed to have the community I have,” he said.

Laube said he plans to attend as many court hearings as he can while Tinoco’s case works its way through the justice system.

Tinoco’s next court appearance is a hearing status check scheduled for April 8 at 1:30 p.m. in Washington County Circuit Court before Judge Charles Bailey.

“It should be a short hearing,” said Lesowski. “The primary purpose of the hearing is to assign the case to a trial judge.”

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