PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The family of a murder victim is making a tearful plea to the governor not to grant a woman, who pleaded guilty in that case, clemency.
This request comes at a time where there’s a lot of change in how the governor’s office has treated clemency. The family of this murder victim is worried about the outcome.
In 2005, 54-year-old Dale Crittendon Rost III was tied up and brutally murdered in his home. His daughters still remember the awful details of that day.
“They walked in and they stripped my dad naked. They tied his hands behind his back, they made sure they had his debit cards and various cards with his pin number. Then, they shot him in the head,” his daughter Kendra Pettit said.
“I was the one that found my dad how they left him,” daughter Sarah Olson said.
Investigators said they found Gerard Smith and Lynley Rayburn with Crittendon Rost’s car and arrested them. Court documents show the two didn’t know him. They had spotted him outside his home just before deciding to rob him and ultimately end his life.
“I had my wedding without my dad, I had three kids without my dad there to be their grandfather, it’s all these things we live with every day that we had taken away from us,” Olson said.
Lynley Rayburn did not pull the trigger, but still received a sentence of life in prison for her role. The family says she’s now submitted a request for clemency, something they say should be denied.
“The reality is, in the state of Oregon, the criminals have become the victims, and the victims have become nothing more than collateral damage,” Steve Doell, president of Crime Victims United of Oregon, said.
Doell believes there’s a “rampage of clemency’s” going on for offenders that should remain behind bars.
“It’s usually for people who have been found to be innocent, or it’s people who’ve really turned their lives around,” Doell explained.
The governor’s office issued a statement saying “our office has received a clemency application from Lynley Rayburn, and that application is currently under review. To be clear, the governor has not yet made a decision on this case.”
Olsen and Pettit ultimately hope the governor says no and listens to the victims in this case.
“I would love for her to reach out to me, to reach out to us. I would love to have a conversation with her,” Olson said.
“Every time this happens, it’s like a scab that just gets torn off every couple years and we have to relive the whole story again and resubmit these victim impact statements,” Pettit explained.
The governor’s office says Gerard Smith, the other person involved in Crittendon Rost’s murder, had not submitted a clemency application.
The governor’s office explained “Governor Brown believes that granting clemency is an extraordinary act that should be reserved for individuals who have made incredible changes and who are dedicated to making their communities better. She evaluates clemency applications on a case-by-case basis and considers a variety of factors about the applicant’s history and case when making those decisions.”
They also added that Brown “deeply values input from any victims involved in the case at issue, and takes every effort to obtain that input in the most victim-centered and trauma-informed way possible. To that end, in seriously considering any clemency application, the Governor’s Office will reach out to the respective District Attorney’s office to obtain their input and any input from victims––well before making any decision to release someone from custody.”
Brown’s office also noted “our office relies on the DA’s offices to accurately represent information to victims; it is unfortunate that misinformation appears to have been communicated in this case.”
Yamhill County District Attorney Bradley Berry, wrote Gov Brown asking to deny Rayburn’s commutation request.