(Update: Adding video, comments from victim's daughters, Hummel holds virtual news conference, offers details; one brother killed with hatchet)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said Monday there wasn't enough evidence to charge a Bend man in a fatal Christmas Day assault until after he allegedly killed two brothers over the weekend, at least one with a hatchet.
But the first victim's two daughters see it very differently.
Randall Kilby, 35, was not charged earlier in the fatal Christmas Day assault on Daphne Banks, 43, at the same home because prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to bring a conviction -- until he gave a new statement after the weekend killings, Hummel told reporters.
Banks' daughters, Laci and Rio Killian, told NewsChannel 21 they have been pleading for action -- and justice -- since that day.
“He (Kilby) took our mom from us, forever," Laci Killian said. "We will never get to see our mom, ever.”
In the wake of this weekend's killings, Hummel has come under sharp criticism from some for filing no charges, allowing Kilby's release after his initial arrest on an assault charge in Banks' death.
“And then to find out that two more people are dead because of this guy, who they wouldn’t arrest in the first place," Laci Killian said.
But Hummel defended his office’s action, saying if Kilby had been charged earlier with murder, he likely would have been acquitted. He said new information Kilby gave in a statement after his arrest Sunday provided the key evidence needed to bring that second-degree murder charge.
"I'm confident that if we charged Mr. Kilby in January, he would have been found not guilty," Hummel said. "And that's why he wasn't charged -- we did not have sufficient evidence."
Rio and Laci Killian said they feel their mother's case deserved more attention, before Kilby harmed someone else.
“I said, 'When is it going to stop?'" Laci Killian said. "'When he kills another person and another kid and another family member?' And apparently that’s when it was going to stop.”
As he began outlining Sunday's events, Hummel called it “a dark day in Bend’s history.”
Police were called to Granite Drive in Romaine Village early Sunday afternoon when a caller said a woman and man walked by them, and the woman silently mouthed “help.” It turned out to be Kilby’s mother.
Another caller, on Lodgepole Drive, said the woman had walked up to her house and said someone was murdered in her home and that her son was involved.
Kilby’s mother let police inside the home and found the bodies of brothers Jeffrey Taylor, 66, and Benjamin Taylor, 69. Hummel said she saw her son kill Jeffrey with a hatchet on Saturday, but they were still determining how the other brother was killed. He also said Kilby was angry with Jeffrey Taylor but that they are not yet sure what led to the other man’s killing.
Kilby took his mother out to a car and drove her around for many hours, then watched over her during the night, Hummel said. Sunday morning, the woman suggested they get some air and go for a walk, during which she mouthed “help” to a neighbor and was able to get free and run to another neighbor for help.
Hummel said “there was a romantic relationship at some point” between Kilby and Banks, but there was a question regarding whether it had recently ended.
Hummel said the cases will be presented to a grand jury for a charging decision before Kilby's next scheduled court appearance, on March 29.
“My heart goes out to their family,” he said. “Our community grieves with them in their darkest hours.”
The DA said “no crime is more important” to his office than homicide, and “we don’t hesitate to charge homicide crimes. Seventeen people have been convicted of homicide since I took office, and nobody has been acquitted. … We charge many people quickly after a homicide.
"We did not have sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Kilby of this crime. If I had charged him back in January, there’s a very good chance he would have been found not guilty.”
Hummel also mentioned the potential risk of double jeopardy, as someone convicted of a lesser crime can’t be tried again on a more serious one.
"This is not a game," he said. "Homicide is not a game. People need to know that."
Hummel said he met Monday with the two daughters of Daphne Banks, and told them why Kilby had not been charged and jailed earlier: “I told them today, if I gave them what they wanted in January, the jury wouldn’t have given them what they wanted down the road.”
Hummel would not detail the new information Kilby provided but said it was “extremely helpful for our investigation” of Banks' death, a case he said his office has worked on every day.
The DA also confirmed that Banks died of blunt force trauma, that Kilby allegedly “intentionally struck her on the head,” but would not yet say with what object.
While crucial for bringing a charge now, Hummel said it’s quite possible Kilby would have been charged with murder in Banks’ death anyway, as prosecutors are still waiting for the report form the state medical examiner.
Randall Kilby was held without bail and arraigned on the initial charges Monday morning, court records showed.
Officers were called to a manufactured home in the 60000 block of Granite Drive in the Romaine Village neighborhood around 12:30 p.m. Sunday on a report of suspicious circumstances, Lt. Juli McConkey told NewsChannel 21 at the scene.
“Once we arrived, we located two deceased people inside,” McConkey said. “We do have one person detained and in police custody.”
Police on Monday identified the victims as Jeffrey Allen Taylor, 66, and Benjamin Harlin Taylor, 69 and charging documents indicate they were killed on Saturday.
"Kilby and the two victims were acquaintances," McConkey told NewsChannel 21. "They all resided there together."
Shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday, Bend police sent a phone alert to 1,750 area residents, seeking to find a person of interest, described as a white male adult in his mid-30s with brown hair and brown eyes, wearing a long-sleeved shirt and black pants, McConkey said.
Several people called in to report a man matching the description in the area of Brookswood Boulevard, near Larkwood Drive. Officers went there and detained Kilby, McConkey said, adding that there were no other suspects in the case.
The home is owned by the estate of Velma Taylor, according to Deschutes County property tax records.
The Central Oregon Major Incident Team was called in to investigate, along with the Oregon State Police Forensics lab. Granite Drive was blocked off with crime scene tape.
Search warrants were being served Monday at the home and Granite Drive remained blocked at Mahogany Drive.
Police also confirmed Monday the third murder charge against Kilby was in the fatal Christmas Day assault on Daphne Dawn Banks, 43. She was removed from life support at St. Charles Bend several days later.
Kilby had called 911 to say Banks had fallen and hit her head, but police soon determined the injuries weren’t consistent with what he'd told police, and Kilby was arrested on a second-degree assault charge.
Kilby was later released days later, with no formal charges filed. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said in January that Kilby could face a murder charge, depending on the results of an autopsy and other forensic evidence, crucial because there apparently were no other witnesses to what occurred.
Initial charging documents filed Monday morning showed Kilby is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of coercion in the crimes that allegedly occurred Saturday. The coercion charge involved a woman (his mother) who allegedly feared she be injured by Kilby if she didn't do as he said.
The second-degree murder charge in the death of Banks did not specify further details of the crime.
Court records show Kilby has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions ranging from resisting arrest to fourth-degree assault, second-degree theft, DUII and burglary.