▶️ As Bend murder retrial nears, friends and family of accused killer hope for redemption


Armed with signs and fliers, friends and family of Luke Wirkkala hope to spread the word about what they consider a wrongful conviction.

“The prosecution did something that wasn’t right,” Childhood friend Brian Wisdom said.

In 2018, the conviction was overturned. The appeals court found officers continued to question Wirkkala despite his request for a lawyer, and then pursued evidence uncovered during that interview.

According to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, the Oregon Department of Justice is now prosecuting the case

No one from that agency was available for comment.

“We feel that Luke defended himself, his girlfriend, and two young boys,” Wirkalla’s sister Evelyn Luethe said.

Wirkkala admits he shot his friend David Ryder in the neck with a 12-gauge shotgun after a Super Bowl party in 2013.

His sister Evelyn says he shot Ryder after Wirkkala awoke to find he was being sexually assaulted and strangled.

They said it was consensual,” said Luethe. “But there was no evidence that it was consensual and the strangulation, that was not consensual.”

A hearing is scheduled for next week. His new trial is scheduled for later this year.

“Luke is very remorseful and so is our family, you know, someone lost a loved one,” Luethe said.

However, Luethe hopes Luke’s trial will have the outcome they’ve been waiting for.

“The outcome would be ‘Not Guilty’, or an acquittal,” she said.

Wirkkala’s trial is set for this October.

▶️ Bend Police Chief applauds peaceful protest; defends deferring situation to feds


It’s only Michael Krantz’s fourth day on the job and already Bend’s newest police chief has come face to face with protestors…some who have challenged his record confronting protests in Portland.

But Krantz says Bend PD’s presence at Wednesday’s protest was for safety reasons and they had no intention of assisting federal authorities.

“I asked a community member if I could use the bullhorn so I could address the crowd and address the community directly and tell them thank you for coming out and being peaceful,” Krantz said.

That peace lasted, Krantz said, throughout the evening, which is part of the reason no arrests were made.

“A peaceful crowd who was expressing their first amendment rights and doing it the way we expected to do it in Bend, is not really the place for an arrest,” Krantz said.

Despite claims local law enforcement was there ensure people remained safe, when federal agents arrived later in the evening, Bend Police left the immediate area.

That’s when protestors say they were shoved and pepper-sprayed by federal authorities.

“We pulled away for two reasons,” said Krantz. “We just went around the corner to give the federal agents room and to not be interfered with and not anyone else and to ensure that there was no confusion that we were a part of any actions they were taking. And there is also concern that if we step in and interfere that we would then be potentially liable for violating federal law for interfering with a federal investigation.”

Krantz added that he’s proud of the community as a whole for supporting each other and remaining non-violent.

“That’s really the message is that this was an example of how to provide the Bend community of what these events can look like,” Krantz said.

New Bend PD Chief issues statement addressing response to ICE protest

▶️ Keeping things sweet for others

It’s a story of success from a hobby to a profession. Marcie Risch loves baking cakes and giving back by making people happy. Central Oregon Daily’s Samantha O’Connor visits with Marcie to find out who and what inspired her to dedicate herself to the baking world.

You can contact Marcie Makes at 541-279-8365 or marciemakestwo@gmail.com.

Thanks to BendBroadband Business for giving us the time and resources to tell the stories of Central Oregonians who have turned their passion into a  profession with a new edition of Origin Story every Friday on Central Oregon Daily News at 5 p.m.

▶️ Expanded hunting opportunities on Hart Mountain Refuge

Plans to expand hunting opportunities on national wildlife refuges are moving ahead with new hunting seasons scheduled this fall. On this week’s edition of The Great Outdoors, Brooke Snavely takes us to the nearest refuge impacted by the changes, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, in remote southeast Oregon, where some hunting already occurs.

A special thanks to our Great Outdoors sponsor, Parr Lumber, for giving us the time and resources to explore the lakes, rivers and mountains across our beautiful state every Wednesday night on Central Oregon Daily.


▶️ Birdseed isn’t just for the birds

In this Taste This! culinary adventure, Dave Jones visits with Birdseed Food Co owner Ashley Chase to get the scoop on her gluten-free granola. Birdseed granola is available locally at a variety of locations, including Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Oregon.

A special thanks to our sponsor, Newport Avenue Market, for giving us the time and resources to bring you this delightful culinary feature each week. Life is short. Eat good food. And have fun doing it.