Three men from metropolitan Oregon have been arrested and charged with an array of crimes after a fourth man was found beaten to death and stored in a refrigerator over the weekend.
Brycen Scofield, 20, Dylan Sweden McLeod, 22 and Austin Michael McLeod, 25, are charged with one count each of second degree murder, first degree robbery, second degree corpse abuse, illegal use of a weapon and tampering with evidence.
According to local ABC affiliate KDRV, the “disturbing details” of the alleged murder were documented in a probable cause affidavit that was quickly sealed by a Jackson County judge.
In the outlet comments, Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau “Confirmed details” regarding the death of 24-year-old Aaron Stitt. He presented the murder as a planned robbery that went horribly wrong.
Police believe the homicidal violence took place early Saturday morning. Officers arrived at the scene of the crime – an apartment complex in a commercial area near a medical center, bank and chain of cosmetics stores – just after 11:30 a.m. in response to a call to 911 regarding an alleged assault possibly involving a firearm.
Budreau says the officers who responded first spotted one of the suspects outside the apartment. This suspect allegedly gave chase when the police approached him and returned inside the unit where the body was finally discovered. However, after calling the man who allegedly escaped on the phone, he left the living unit and was then detained without incident, police said.
According to local NBC KOBI affiliate, Scofield was the suspect in question who walked away first before surrendering.
The television station also reports that the defendants were “wild firefighters who worked with Pacific Oasis Contracting, based in Ashland”.
Once inside the apartment, officers carried out a search that allegedly revealed Stitt’s body hidden in a closed refrigerator that belonged to one of the suspects. According to the MPD, it was clear that the suspects had made an effort to clean up the crime scene.
Investigators believe Stitt was invited to Scoffield’s apartment as part of a flight plan concocted by the trio. The details of what, exactly, could have gone wrong once this alleged plan was revealed, are not, for the moment, made public by the police.
According to the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office, the skull fractures found in the dead man are “consistent with a hammer blow.” A formal autopsy, in sight, has not yet been performed.
Prosecutors believe the three suspects used “a hammer and / or a wrench” to kill their alleged victim before removing their clothes and then hiding or destroying them, along with the alleged murder weapon or weapons. These cover-up efforts focused on what the district attorney’s office called “blood, bloody clothes and weapons”.
The police, however, recovered several firearms from the residence.
According to Courier Tribune, at least one of the suspects – who was not named in the report – said Stitt had stolen it in the past.
Each of the suspects was arraigned Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court. They are currently being held without bail.
[images via Medford Police Department]
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