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Lara pleads not guilty in Kaylee Sawyer murder


A former COCC campus safety officer accused of abducting and killing 23-year-old Kaylee Sawyer on the Bend campus a month ago entered not guilty pleas Thursday afternoon to four counts of aggravated murder.

Benjamin Kim of Oregon City, the court-appointed defense attorney for Edwin Enoc Lara, 31, of Redmond, entered the pleas on behalf of his client, who appeared by video from the Deschutes County Jail. Circuit Judge Alta Brady set Lara’s next court appearance for Sept. 28 at 3 p.m.

Lara, wearing a red jail jumpsuit, is being held without bail since being moved from Yreka, Calif. to the Bend jail.

He showed no emotion during the brief hearing and said little, only that the image of the courtroom he was seeing was blurry

The courtroom was filled with family and friends of Sawyer watching the suspect on the TV screen, family members holding hands during the first Oregon court appearance for Lara.

The judge ordered that Lara have no contact with Sawyer’s family.

Lara is accused of abducting Sawyer on the morning of July 24, when she last was seen alive outside her apartment building near the COCC campus. The indictment accuses him of abducting her, attempting to sexually assault her and killing her, all on the campus, according to District Attorney John Hummel.

After an extensive search, her body was found two days later in a small canyon near state Highway 126 west of Redmond. An autopsy determined she died of blunt-force trauma.

Lara’s wife, a Bend police recruit, went to Redmond police the day after Sawyer’s disappearance, telling them her husband had just told her he had struck Sawyer with his patrol car and disposed of the body.

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