Deschutes DA: No charges in 2012 killing on Awbrey Butte

By Claire Withycombe | The Bulletin | February 20, 2015

Details emerge in Bend police investigation into Munoz's death

At his home on Awbrey Butte, in the early hours of June 24, 2012, Kevin Perry shot and killed Shane Munoz.

For more than 21/2 years, and under two district attorneys and two chiefs of police, the case has remained open with criminal charges undecided.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said Thursday that neither Perry nor his companion, Amanda Weinman, of Eugene, who was present at the time of the shooting, will face criminal charges in the death of Munoz.

Appearing at a news conference with Bend Police Chief Jim Porter on Thursday morning, Hummel said based on the available evidence, no crime was committed.

The police report on the incident states Perry, now 38, and Weinman told police they had returned home from a date downtown just after midnight to find the front door damaged and Munoz, a stranger to both Perry and Weinman, sleeping on the couch.

Perry told police Munoz attacked him, and that after a brief struggle he had just enough time to grab a handgun and shoot Munoz once. Perry called 911, and Munoz was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hummel said he spent five weeks reviewing the Bend Police investigation shortly after taking office last month. "I can't speak to the delay in making this decision prior to January 5th," he said.

In March 2013, the District Attorney's Office, then under the direction of Patrick Flaherty, asked Bend Police for additional review of the incident, according to Bulletin archives. Flaherty did not return a call for comment Thursday.

"It carried on because Patrick Flaherty is a very thorough criminal prosecutor, and he had several additional valid avenues he wanted us to pursue," Porter said later Thursday.

Hummel said the case appeared to some to exemplify a class divide. Perry is the son of a prominent Seattle businessman, and Munoz was from a working-class Bend family.

"People have told me they believe there are two sets of rules in this town: the rules for the rich and the rules for the rest of us," Hummel said.

"While I empathize with those who are struggling financially, and I urge our community to come together to address our low-wage problem, that issue has no place in my review of this case," Hummel said.

Hummel acknowledged the toll the investigation took on supporters of Munoz and Perry.

Porter, the commander of investigations for the department at the time of the shooting, said 13 detectives investigated the case. Police conducted more than 500 hours of interviews with 56 people.

"We ran down every anonymous lead," Porter said. The police report shows police interviewed bartenders and waiters who came into contact with Munoz, Perry and Weinman the night Munoz died, as well as Perry's neighbors and the taxi driver who brought Perry and Weinman to the house on NW Awbrey Road from downtown Bend.

Cellphone records from a nine-day period before the incident indicated Perry and Weinman had not had phone contact with Munoz, then 33.

Perry, Weinman and Munoz were intoxicated the night of the shooting, Hummel said. Eight hours after the altercation, Perry had a blood alcohol content of 0.06 percent, Munoz had a blood alcohol content at death of 0.19 percent, and Weinman's was 0.12 percent.

THC (the primary psychoactive constituent of marijuana), Oxycodone, a muscle relaxant, an anti-depressant and Benadryl were also in Perry's system at that time, according to an October 2012 letter from a forensic scientist at the Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory in Clackamas.

A woman who identified herself as Munoz's mother questioned Hummel and Porter at length after statements to the public Thursday. She inquired about gun reform and use of force, which under Oregon law is justified under a specific set of circumstances, including when someone reasonably believes another person will use unlawful, deadly physical force against him or is committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling.

Hummel said her questions pertaining to gun control were beyond the scope of the investigation.

"I determined based on the evidence that Kevin Perry was justified in the shooting," Hummel said. "He was in his house, a struggle ensued, and he shot the person who was in his house fighting with himself and his girlfriend."

"The complexity of a deadly force encounter is beyond most of our ability to understand, it truly is," added Porter, who returned to the lectern to address her questions.

Perry's attorney, Portland-based Stephen Houze, said Thursday via a phone interview that he hadn't expected charges to be filed against his client.

"From the outset there has not been any doubt in my mind we would get to this point with the district attorney's office deciding not to prosecute him," Houze said.

He added that the only "surprising" thing was the delay between the incident and the district attorney's decision.

"I'm not in a position to shed any light why this took so long," Houze said. "It's my understanding that the police did an exhaustive investigation, as one would expect, and they concluded that investigation long ago."

In an interview with The Bulletin in March 2013, Porter said he expected the police investigation to be complete by June or July of that year.

"I'm unaware of any new information that's come to light since approximately July of 2012," Weinman's Bend attorney, Jon Springer, said Thursday. "I don't think any has, and I welcome Hummel's decision here."