July 23, 2001 11:00 pm
Liysa King-Northon ().
Liysa King-Northon ().

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE A Bend woman who Thursday pleaded guilty in Enterprise to intentionally killing her husband Oct. 9 is in the Umatilla County Jail, awaiting transport to the Oregon Womens Correctional Center.

Liysa King-Northon, 39, will be transported to Salem to serve a 121/2-year sentence, followed by a three-year parole, imposed by Wallowa County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Mendiguren.

King-Northon pleaded guilty to shooting her husband, Chris Northon, 44, at Shady Camp up the Lostine River, some 17 miles south of Lostine.

Some details were clarified Monday by Wallowa County District Attorney Dan Ousley. An anonymous call was received at the prosecutors office June 26, he said, rather than last week, as was reported in Fridays story. The tip led investigators to King-Northons computer in Connecticut.

The computer arrived by a parcel service at Ousleys office Tuesday. An FBI expert from Pendleton analyzed the data. He discovered e-mails and other communications relevant to the murder case.

Samples of the computer information were given to the defense team Tuesday night. The defense Wednesday morning argued unsuccessfully that it was a discovery violation. The new evidence changed the face of the trial, Ousley said.

Scheduled from July 16 to July 27 at tremendous expense to the county, Ousley said, the trial could have been gone into August with this new twist.

Wednesday evening, the defense wanted to talk about resolving the case, the prosecutor said.

Negotiations continued Thursday morning. By early afternoon, King-Northon pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, committed intentionally. The act was committed under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance, which constituted a mitigating circumstance reducing the original homicide charge to manslaughter, Ousley said.

Mendiguren agreed to be bound by the defense and prosecutions plea agreement of 121/2 years in prison with credit for the nine months and 10 days already served, mostly in the Union County Jail.

Ballot Measure 11 requires that a minimum of 10 years be served. So, King-Northon is limited to earning good time credit only on the last 21/2 years in which the judge upwardly departed.

A judge can sentence someone to as much as 20 years and fine them up to $300,000 for manslaughter, but that seldom occurs, Ousley said, particularly in a case where the defendant has no prior record and it is alleged that the victim physically abused her.

Fines and fees of $605 were imposed on King-Northon.

If the trial had run its course, the jury could have found King-Northon innocent, guilty of murder or of reckless manslaughter, rather than the intentional manslaughter to which she


A reckless manslaughter conviction would likely have brought the 10-year minimum sentence, Ousley said.

The insistence in negotiations that she plead guilty to an intentional killing, ensured that she cannot collect any of her husbands estate.

His assets instead will flow directly to their son, Ousley