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Court documents shed light on Bend-area murder suspect


(Update: Suspect’s husband had filed for divorce, sought restraining order barring her from having guns; correcting name of judge)

The husband of a Bend woman arrested on a murder charge Thursday in the fatal shooting of a neighbor had filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order against her. But his request that she be banned from possessing firearms was not agreed to in the judge’s order, signed earlier this month, court documents show.

Joanna L. Kasner was arrested Thursday by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office detectives on one count of murder in Wednesday’s killing of Valerie A. Peterson, Sgt. William Bailey said.

“My wife has sent numerous threatening text messages in the last few weeks,” the petition filed Jan. 5 by Kasner’s husband stated, saying he feared he would be injured. He included texts purportedly from his wife about a family member in a motorcycle gang that was going to come after him: “You guys have really messed (with) the wrong person and family. … You BETTER get ready.”

In one section, the husband checked a box saying he wanted Kasner to be banned from possessing or buying firearms and indicated that she had guns or easy access to them.

But the order, signed Jan. 8 Deschutes County Circuit Judge Bethany Flint, has no checkmark in the section to say Kasner would be barred from buying or possessing any firearms or ammunition.

Kasner is at St. Charles Bend for treatment but is in police custody, Bailey said, adding that any other information would have to come from the district attorney’s office.

Deschutes County property tax records indicate Kasner was co-owner of a home on McGrath Road. Oregon court records indicate no criminal record for Kasner.

The court records also show Kasner’s husband filed for divorce last month, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce petition indicated the couple had been married since last July.

In public posts to her Facebook page in recent days, Kasner said she had been harassed, abused and assaulted by Snohomish County, Wash. sheriff’s deputies and moved “out of fear for me and my family,” but “that trouble has followed me to Oregon,” claiming she is “being harassed and threated (sic)…and poised (sic).”

“According to the police, if you experience PTSD… your a criminal…witch I AM NOT.”

Her last post, early Monday, said she was going to a police station “to fly a complaint regarding the treatment we delt with Sat morning” and that she would ask “two young cops” she was complaining about “start cop training all over again. … GOD told me to go in and be calm and demand some help.”

Melissa McPherson, Peterson’s sister, told NewsChannel 21 Thursday in an email that Thursday was her sister’s birthday – “she would have been 59.”

McPherson said her sister lived in the area of McGrath Road where she was found lying on the road, fatally wounded, according to deputies.

“She was walking her two dogs, minding her own business when a senseless act killed her,” McPherson said, adding that she could not say “all we know because of the investigation.”

McPherson said her sister “beat a stroke” two years ago, and “last year she overcame her first round of chemo for ovarian cancer and just finished her second round last month.”

“Valerie was loved by her husband Steve Peterson, and a son, and five siblings, their families and all her friends,” McPherson wrote.

“She will be missed enormously. She’s with Jesus now,” McPherson added.

Bailey had initially said an unnamed “person of interest” was detained at the scene.

“Whether the victim and the person of interest knew each other is unknown at this time,” Bailey said in a Wednesday evening update.

Numerous sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement rushed to an area north of Bend and east of Deschutes Junction on the report of a shooting just after 11 a.m. Wednesday in the 64800 block of McGrath Road, east of Deschutes Junction and Highway 97, Bailey said.

Life-saving efforts were attempted on the shooting victim, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, Sheriff Shane Nelson told reporters at mid-afternoon.

Nelson would not provide other details such as the number of shots fired or about the person of interest.

However, he confirmed to NewsChannel 21 initial reports from the scene that the victim was found lying in the middle of the street.

The Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, two DCSO K-9 Teams and a DCSO patrol drone responded to the scene, closing streets, gathering evidence and conducting interviews.

DCSO was assisted at the scene by Oregon State Police, Bend and Redmond police, the county District Attorney’s Office, Bend Fire Department medics and the Deschutes County Road Department.

DCSO detectives were on scene investigating, assisted by the Tri-County Major Incident Team. DCSO Search and Rescue drones also were being used to assist with video and mapping. The Oregon State Police Crime Lab is also responding to assist with the investigation.

Bailey said Wednesday evening a small stretch of McGrath Road remains closed due to the investigation.

Earlier in the afternoon, deputies had confirmed all involved were in custody and there was no continuing danger in the area.

The sheriff’s office said in an initial tweet that deputies were on the scene of a shooting.

“Nearby residences should stay inside and lock their doors,” the sheriff’s office said in a tweet. “Suspect is not in custody. Deputies have a perimeter around the suspect residence.”

Around 12:40 p.m., the sheriff’s office issued a new tweet, reporting that “all subjects believed to be involved in the shooting are in police custody.”

“There is no continuing active threat to the community,” the agency added.

NewsChannel 21’s Katie Zuniga talked to a neighbor who shared images from his home but said he had heard no shots.

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