Special Report: The death of Steven Scott

Three years after his death, family and friends of a transient killed in the streets of Springfield are raising questions about the handling of his case.

Posted: Oct 26, 2020 11:38 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 4:53 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Three years after his death, family and friends of a man killed in the streets of Springfield are raising questions about the handling of his case.

Steven Scott, 51, was killed on Sept. 3 following a gathering at a home in the 2700 block of D Street.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Part two of Jacob Robert's Special Report "Death Without Justice" will air on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Former Springfield Police Lt. Scott McKee said the incident started as an argument in the backyard of the home between Scott and a woman, Dianne Parham.

“The initial report is it had something to do with a meth pipe, or cleaning a meth pipe,” McKee said.

The argument quickly got heated, and Dianne Parham’s son Dwayne stepped in to defend his mother, according to police reports. That’s when someone from inside the home told the group to take the argument to the street. Once in the street, Scott and Dwayne Parham exchanged blows, but then Scott went back and grabbed something from the backyard that may have ultimately cost him his life.

“Steven Scott came back out with a golf club and encountered Dwayne Parham. He started swinging the golf club at him,” McKee said.

After Scott tried to hit Dwayne, the golf club broke in two and Dwayne took one end. Dwayne Parham later admitted to police he hit Scott with the shaft of the club, leaving him on the ground. According to police reports, that’s when Dwayne’s mother Dianne came back outside.

“She tells her son Dwayne to leave and that, 'I’ll take care of this,’” McKee said. “The investigators believe Dianne came out and hit Steven again while he was down.”

Evidence would seem to support that idea. Scott said the golf club had been moved from where Dwayne had left it. Later that night, a friend of Dianne’s would tell police that Dianne told her she thought she killed someone. Dianne allegedly told the friend that Scott came at her with a golf club and that she took the club and hit Scott over the head with it.

Artie Lavender, who lives inside the home on the home on D Street and considered Scott a friend, said he had been allowing Scott to stay in the family’s backyard. Lavender was also among the first to find Scott lying in the street.

“I honestly thought he was still alive so I started to talk to him,” Lavender said. “I got no response so I finally figured out there was something wrong.”

According to police reports, Springfield Police and paramedics scrambled to the scene and were able to briefly revive Scott, but he later died at RiverBend Hospital. What would follow were days and weeks of questioning everyone who was at the scene.

For prosecutors, it didn’t take long to put the pieces together. Dianne Parham was charged with Scott’s murder just days later. But as quickly as charges were filed, they were dropped.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Erik Hasselman would tell the Register Guard newspaper that preliminary findings from a medical examiner would require “additional investigation.” Three years later, no one has served a day in prison for Scott’s death.

In part two of this special report, KEZI 9 News investigates the results of the medical examiner’s report and why some in law enforcement say justice has not been served.

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