A Culver woman was sentenced Monday to 22 years in prison for shooting to death a Madras man and putting his body in a fridge where it was discovered by authorities several weeks later.
Charina Owen, 37, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, first-degree burglary, and felon in possession of a firearm on Friday, according to Jefferson County District Attorney Steven Leriche.
Judge Michael Mclane sentenced Owen to 240 months for the manslaughter charge, with a concurrent 36 months for the burglary charge.
She’ll serve an additional 24 months for the firearm possession charge.
Owen, who was also initially identified as Charina Mathews, was arrested on June 4th last year, a few weeks after the body of 34-year-old Byron Hilands was found in a refrigerator on the corner of Bear Drive and Highway 61.
According to a statement from Leriche, the case against Owen began on March 13, 2020, when her brother, 35-year-old Jacob Own of Bend, reported to law enforcement that she told him she got into a fight with Hilands and needed help moving a fridge full of “spoiled meat” to property owned by Hilands in Brothers.
Jacob Owen also told authorities he believed his sister had done something to Hilands and was going to turn herself in to her probation officer, Leriche said.
Former Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Shea Dulley responded to Hilands’ property at 2350 SW Bear Drive in Madras and tried to contact him, with no success.
On May 7, 2020, former Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Barros responded to a report that an individual on the property believed he had found a human body in a freezer at the Bear Drive property.
Barros and Deputy Melody Zistel responded and confirmed that there was, in fact, a significantly decomposed human body in a refrigerator on-site, Leriche said.
Investigators learned that Owen, who had multiple prior convictions including convictions for first-degree burglary, unlawful use of a weapon, and fourth-degree assault against Hilands, told several people that she had rotten meat she needed to get rid of.
Autopsy results revealed Hilands was wearing flannel pajama bottoms and a t-shirt when he was shot in the head and chest with a .22 caliber firearm, Leriche said.
Hilands was inside a sleeping bag with a pillow, which strongly suggested he was sleeping at the time he was shot.
A search warrant executed at the Bear Drive address on May 8, 2020, led to the discovery of a .22 caliber revolver along with a white latex glove, Leriche said.
Owen’s fingerprint was discovered on the glove, and the glove appeared to match a glove Deputy Jason Pollock found in Owen’s possession on March 18, 2020, when he arrested her on a warrant for violating her probation, Leriche said.
When the gun and glove were discovered during the May 8 warrant, Pollock remembered the glove he found two months earlier and brought it to the attention of other investigators assisting with the case.
Owen was sentenced under Oregon’s “Denny Smith Act” which says that anyone previously convicted of certain crimes – first-degree burglary in this case – who commits another major crime, is not eligible for a reduction in sentence.
Leriche said that means Owen will serve the full length of her sentence.
Owen will be eligible to participate in programs and earn good time when she serves her sentence for firearm possession sentence at the end of her 20-year term.
In sentencing Owen, Mclane noted she had taken responsibility for her crimes and found that she was forthright during the settlement conference, Leriche said.