Weighmaster killer sentenced for cold-blooded crime

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- The man who killed Clackamas County weighmaster Grady Waxenfelter on a snowy February day in 2014 was sentenced for the cold-blooded crime Tuesday afternoon.

Dirck Morgan White, 45, who pleaded guilty in Clackamas County Court on February 21, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years. This sentence will be served consecutively to a previous sentence he's serving in California. 

Before White was sentenced, Waxenfelter's widow told the judge how much he's loved and missed.

"Grady was a wonderfully kind man that left an impression on everyone he came in contact with," Tedra Waxenfelter said in court. "If you hadn't done what yuo did that day, you, too, would have been a better person from just meeting him. He was only doing his job."

White also spoke in court. He offered his condolences to the Waxenfelter family but told them he couldn't relate to the things they were saying because he's never been shown that kind of love.

White will now return to California to serve his life sentence there

Timeline of the case

On a snowy Thursday, February 6, 2014, Grady Waxenfelter was on-duty in his role as a county weighmaster enforcing truck regulations. He spotted a pickup truck-and-trailer loaded with firewood at Southeast Amisigger Road and Highway 224 near Boring and pulled him over because it did not have a license plate.

As Waxenfelter walked up to the pickup, he was shot almost immediately by the driver, who was quickly identified as White, an Edgefield resident.

A witness, Elias Duhrkoop, told KOIN 6 News in 2014 that he was running errands and saw a man laying in the road. He stopped and tried to help, but said the county employee was already dead.

"The victim was gone," Duhrkoop said. "The victim was lifeless."

Though Waxenfelter's family declined to speak with KOIN 6 News at the time, their pastor at Estacada First Baptist said he was a caring man and respected church leader.

"He was always welcoming and kind, one of the guys you felt comfortable around," said Pastor Brent Dodrill.

At the time Waxenfelter pulled him over, White was wanted on an arrest warrant from Pierce County, Wash., for a weapons violation. He was working as a delivery driver for O'Malley Brothers Trucking in Estacada. 

White dropped off the pickup and picked up his car, a Mercedes-Benz with a Washington license plate. He escaped capture that day in part because the manhunt was hampered by heavy snow in the Portland metro that day.

As the days and weeks passed, White was reportedly sited in various places, including Jefferson, Oregon and Des Moines Iowa, and rewards for information about his whereabouts increased.

Clackamas County changes procedures

Just 3 months after his death, the weighmaster building in Oregon City was named for Grady Waxenfelter.

Meanwhile, Clackamas County ordered its weighmasters to halt enforcement stops along the roads after an internal investigation found employees weren't properly trained. 

The analysis obtained by KOIN 6 News shows training and equipment are not adequate to keep the weighmaster safe. There is no training for traffic stops, high speed pursuits, threats and personal safety, among other items.

The analysis also shows no safety equipment was issued.

In September 2014, Clackamas County settled a wrongful death claim filed by Waxenfelter's family for $700,000.

White finally captured

In December 2014, Dirck White was critically wounded in a gunfight with Los Angeles police.

Around 10 a.m. that day, Hollywood officers got called to a burglary from a motor vehicle incident. When they arrived, they saw a man near the intersection of Lemon Grove and Melrose who ran once he saw the officers.

After a short chase, White was seen hiding behind a parked vehicle. As police got out of their cars, White fired a handgun at police, who returned fire and hit White. 

He was then rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in critical condition and under police guard. 


White spent a long time in the hospital before facing charges in California, for which he was convicted.

It wasn't until February 2017 that White made his first appearance in a Clackamas County courtroom, just one day after being extradited from California.

He initially pleaded not guilty and a trial was scheduled for May 2017.

Now, more than 4 years since Grady Waxenfelter was killed while doing his job, Dirck Morgan White was sentenced for the random and brutal crime

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