JUDGE REJECTS MURDER SUSPECT'S RELEASE

June 27, 2001 11:00 pm
COURT APPEARANCE: Liysa Ann King-Northon enters the Wallowa County Circuit Court for a pre-trial motions hearing Wednesday. She is accused of murdering her husband last October at a Lostine canyon campground. (The Observer/GARY FLETCHER).
COURT APPEARANCE: Liysa Ann King-Northon enters the Wallowa County Circuit Court for a pre-trial motions hearing Wednesday. She is accused of murdering her husband last October at a Lostine canyon campground. (The Observer/GARY FLETCHER).

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE A woman accused of murdering her husband last October remains in jail without bail after appearing in Wallowa County Circuit Court Wednesday.

Liysa Ann King-Northon, 38, a freelance photographer, has been accused of murdering her husband, Chris Northon, 44, an airline pilot at a Lostine canyon campground last October. The couple had residences in both Hawaii and the Bend area.

King-Northons attorney, Pat Birmingham of Portland, requested her release at a pre-trial motions hearing Wednesday.

Wallowa County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Mendiguren denied a motion to release the woman. Eight other defense motions and one by the prosecution were to be heard this morning.

The outcome of todays hearing may refine and limit issues and evidence that can be presented in a trial scheduled for July 16-27 at the Wallowa County Courthouse.

The jury selection process was scheduled to begin this morning. Some 120 people had been called to Cloverleaf Hall to be interviewed this morning.

The judge on Wednesday ruled against Birminghams motion to suppress any and all statements, admissions, and/or confessions allegedly made by the defendant on Oct. 9 at Dayton General Hospital in Dayton, Wash., because she had not yet been read her rights. Her son was staying in the vicinity with a friend.

Columbia County Deputy Kevin Larkin responded to the hospital, where Northon went at 10:55 a.m. to be examined for an alleged domestic assault. Larkin said he found an unloaded gun in her car.

Regarding evidence requested under his right of pre-trial discovery, There seems to be a pattern of things coming too little too late, Birmingham said.

He said he had just received the Honolulu Police report about a December 1997 domestic dispute. It revealed that the victim was not present and there were apparently no injuries.

Some other evidence was handed to Birmingham in the hearing Wednesday by Steven Biggs, assistant state attorney general who is assisting Wallowa County District Attorney Dan Ousley.

Biggs said a blood sample from the gun that had to be sent to a Pennsylvania lab was an example of things that take time.

One of the defenses private investigators testified that a blue tarp and sleeping pad was found in a black garbage bag. Both appeared to have a hole through them and there appeared to be dried blood and blond hair on the pad.

The bag was reportedly left in a vehicle released from impound. It was later returned by the Northon family.

Among the audience of 20 in the courtroom Wednesday, Chris Northons parents and relatives sat across the aisle from those of the defendant.

The trial was originally set for March, but Birmingham requested an extension in February.