A Deschutes County woman found dead on her property near Sisters last week had no known relationship with the man arrested and accused of her murder, prosecutors said Monday. Prosecutors also revealed the suspect was released from jail on a separate case the same day as the alleged murder.
Alexander Mark Smith, 22, of Redmond was arraigned Monday afternoon. No bail was set. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office said the case will be presented to a grand jury later this week.
Tina Klein-Lewis, 55, was found dead on her property last Tuesday in the 67400 block of Cloverdale Road, a few miles east of Sisters. The DA’s office said she was found in the bucket of a tractor by her boyfriend.
Deputies arrested Smith on Friday. The DA’s office said deputies were called for a welfare check in the 16300 block of Jordan Road, between Sisters and where Klein-Lewis’ body was found.
The person who called said they found Smith on an adjacent property and that Smith asked the person to call medics because he had infected feet, the DA’s office said. Deputies then arrested him on second-degree murder and other charges.
Neighbor Vickie Herring saw the arrest and said Smith seemed disoriented.
“All wrapped up in brown blankets and just really disheveled. It was odd,” Herrings said. “I’ve seen a lot of people down and out, but this was really odd.”
No other details were immediately available explaining how deputies connected Smith to the Klein-Lewis murder. But the DA’s office said there was no known relationship between the two.
“By all accounts, Tina Klein-Lewis was a loving, kind, and gentle person. She leaves behind many people who loved her. Tina Klein-Lewis’ absence creates a void in our community,” Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummell said in a statement. “My colleagues and I in the District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office are giving this investigation our full attention and we will ensure that justice is done.”
The DA’s office says the state believes Smith’s mental health may be a factor in this case.
Prosecutors did give a timeline of some events involving Smith a couple of weeks before Klein-Lewis’ death.
- May 14: Smith went to his parents’ house to do laundry. The parents called police because they said they told Smith not to come on their property. Police issued Smith a citation for trespassing and he was ordered to appear in court on June 14.
- May 16: Smith attempted to enter his parents’ house again. They called police. Smith was arrested for trespassing and taken to Deschutes County Jail. He was released the next day.
- May 31, the day Klein-Lewis was found dead: Smith was arrested for trespassing. There was no police report about the incident, so the DA’s office did not have details about it. Because of that, no charges were filed and Smith was released from jail.
Smith is a 2018 graduate of Redmond High School was a student at Oregon State University, the DA’s Office said.
See previous Central Oregon Daily News coverage below