Neighborhood nickname for accused killer: ‘Derelict Derek’

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SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland man accused of killing a woman in her rural Marion County home Saturday night is the same person arrested in 2009 after he barged into his dad’s home with a gun and demanded more weapons.

Derek Johnson in mugshots: On the left, April 22, 2019. On the right, 2009. (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

That time, Derek Johnson was later arrested hiding in a neighbor’s attic — after his dad’s family and several children hid in a safe room in the basement when he burst in.

He was convicted of robbery and being a felon with a gun and sentenced to 70 months in prison.

This past Saturday, Marion County deputies went to the home of Robin Stender after reports of a possible assault. The home in the 12000 block of Twin Creeks Lane SE in Jefferson is on a small, private lane.

When investigators arrived, they discovered she was dead. Robin Stender was 55.

People who live in the area told KOIN 6 News there are 4 homes on that lane and that Johnson is the son of Stender’s neighbor.

“Yeah, he’s been in trouble before,” John LeHoullier said.

A neighbor said his nickname in the community was “Derelict Derek.”

At this point, it’s not clear if Johnson and Stender knew each other. Neighbors said she was always very friendly and they’re shocked at the murder.

LeHoullier said he’s “completely shocked that somebody could do this in such a small town. To be so close it just makes me question what is happening? What is the world coming to?”

“I don’t have a clue as to why he hurt her,” LeHoullier said. “I don’t know if she knew him at all or was it a freak run-in. Tough to say, for sure.”

Derek Johnson in his first court appearance on a murder charge in Marion County, April 23, 2019 (KOIN)

Stender’s death, he said, is “very, very sad.”

Johnson, 39, was in a wheelchair when he made his first court appearance Tuesday on the murder charge. He held his head in his hands for most of the hearing and was visibly upset. 

He’s being held without bail. He’s scheduled to appear in court again on Friday for a court-appointed attorney and will have his preliminary hearing on April 30. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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