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Campus officer accused of Oregon murder set to change plea

A change-of-plea hearing was scheduled for a former security guard at Central Oregon Community College, who police say killed a woman in July 2016.

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 11:01 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2018 9:43 AM

BEND, Ore. (AP) - A change-of-plea hearing has been scheduled for Edwin Lara, who police say killed a woman in July 2016 while working as a campus safety officer at Central Oregon Community College.

Court records show the hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 22 and 23 in Deschutes County Circuit Court.

Juli Walden VanCleave, the mother of victim Kaylee Sawyer, posted on Facebook that Lara agreed to a plea deal that would send him to prison for life, avoiding a possible death sentence.

Lara's defense lawyer, Thaddeus Betz, declined comment when contacted by The Bulletin newspaper.

Authorities say Lara killed Sawyer in Bend on July 24, and later kidnapped a woman in Salem. They drove to California, where he allegedly shot and wounded a man and carjacked a vehicle with a family inside.

Lara pleaded not guilty after his arrest and has been awaiting an October 2018 trial.

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