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LO slaying suspect investigated in Washington murder case

The suspect in a brutal Lake Oswego murder in September is now under investigation in connection with another slaying, this one in Washington state in July.Erik John Meiser

Erik J. Meiser, 38, is being held in Clackamas County Jail without bail on six counts of aggravated murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and one count each of first- and second-degree burglary. He is accused of killing Fritz Hayes, 57, a recently retired high-tech engineer and longtime Lake Oswego resident, on Sept. 17.

Meiser is now also considered a “person of interest” in the Kelso, Wash., murder of 28-year-old Nick Fickett, who died from multiple stab wounds in late July, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.

“Meiser has made some statements to law enforcement that relate to the murder of Nick Fickett,” the sheriff’s office announced Oct. 31. Cowlitz County detectives also reportedly “have information that Meiser was in Kelso during the time that (Fickett) was murdered and they are hoping to talk with anyone who had any contact with Meiser.”

Deputies discovered Fickett’s body while conducting a welfare check at a campsite on the east bank of the Cowlitz River. He was found dead in a tent at the unoccupied camp; authorities think he died the evening of July 26, the sheriff’s office reported.

Because the investigation remains open and Meiser has not been arrested or charged in Fickett’s death, Cowlitz authorities declined to release details about Meiser’s statements “or evidence that may connect him to the case.”

Cowlitz County Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig said there’s no set timeframe for the investigation.

A former white supremacist, Meiser has a criminal history stretching back years across 10 states, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, which led the investigation of the Lake Oswego murder that occurred on Atwater Road in an unincorporated pocket of Clackamas County.

Meiser was arrested Aug. 11 in Ventura, Calif., on a warrant for vandalism, according to court records. He is also wanted in Ogden, Utah, on suspicion of slashing a man with a knife or razor several times on Sept. 8.

On Sept. 17, Fritz Hayes was attacked by an intruder armed with a machete and a knife as he and his wife, 56-year-old Margaret “Maggie” Hayes, returned from an early morning walk to their Atwater Road. He died in his wife’s arms in the driveway outside of their home, where they raised their three children over the past 25 years. She was not injured in the attack.

After the murder, a national manhunt ensued. Meiser was arrested at gunpoint Sept. 22 outside of a Super 8 motel in Corvallis.

Authorities said they linked Meiser to evidence in the area, including a bloody machete found near the crime scene and a bicycle someone attempted to steal from a residence about a half-mile away. He is also accused of burglarizing a marital arts studio on North State Street.

A hearing was scheduled for Friday in Clackamas County Circuit Court to consider an order barring the news media from talking to Meiser.




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  • 27 Aug 2014

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