Supreme Court rejects appeal from Portland man who used a shotgun to kill couple in barJEWELL - The U.S. Supreme Court Monday rejected a death sentence appeal by a Portland man convicted of killing a lesbian couple at a Portland karaoke bar in 1998.
Eric Running, 53, of Portland was convicted in 2000 of aggravated murder in the shotgun slayings of Jacqueline Julita Anderson, whom he had dated, and Barbara Gilpin, her partner, in the Ambassador Restaurant and Lounge.
The Oregon Supreme Court last April affirmed the death sentence after rejecting all 36 issues Running had raised on appeal, including his claims involving the release of jury records and extreme emotional distress at the time of the shooting.
Running's attorneys had argued at the trial that he killed the two women during a mental breakdown fueled by alcohol abuse.
On appeal, Running's attorneys argued that the judge improperly instructed jurors that they could only consider this form of insanity defense if they first found him not guilty of aggravated murder.
The Supreme Court said the judge correctly followed the law on the issue. The court also rejected Running's claim that he deserved a new trial because the judge did not force the state to turn over jury records. The court said Running failed to show any evidence that there was something wrong with the jury pool.
In 1998, The Daily Astorian reported that the two women had put their $209,000 manufactured home along Bay Road in Jewell up for sale, citing harassment because of their lifestyle. The pair had lived together in Gilpin's home in the Portland suburb of Tigard before moving in 1995 to the 40-acre rural site in Jewell, which had room for animals.
Gilpin, 44, worked as a landscaper at Portland Community College's Rock Creek campus. She and 29-year-old Anderson - who sometimes went by the name Octavia - were accepted when they moved to the rural community, neighbors told The Daily Astorian. But later the couple had become victims of harassment by neighborhood youths driving across their lawn, knocking over their fence and making derogatory comments about their lifestyle, neighbors said. There was no evidence this was connected to their deaths in the bar.
Since Oregon voters reinstated capital punishment nearly 20 years ago, the state has sent 51 men to Death Row.
Two have been executed: Douglas Franklin Wright in 1996 and Harry Lee Moore in 1997. Both had abandoned their appeals.
One inmate died of cancer in 1997, and one was released from prison in 2000 after the Supreme Court determined that the state violated his right to a speedy trial.
Nineteen have been re-sentenced to something less severe than death or are awaiting a new trial.
Running is one of 28 men in Oregon with a current death sentence.