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Culver woman enters plea in murder case; ex-boyfriend’s body found in refrigerator

OWEN, CHARINA 2
Jefferson County Jail
Charina Jeanette Owen

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Culver woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree murder and other charges in the shooting death of her boyfriend, whose body was found in an unplugged refrigerator just over a month ago.

Charina Jeanette Owen, 36, was arraigned on a five-count indictment charging her with second-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree abuse of a corpse and first-degree burglary.

Defense attorney David Glenn, sitting beside Owen on video hookup from the Jefferson County Jail, entered the plea on his client's behalf.

Owen, who was arrested a week ago, accused of fatally shooting Byron Hilands, 33, who had been missing since for months and with whom she'd had a stormy, sometimes violent relationship in recent years.

Since Owen's arrest, the identity of the man's remains found in early May at Hiland's property on Southwest Bear Drive were confirmed using his dental records, Sheriff Jim Adkins said Thursday.

Circuit Judge Annette Hillman set a pre-trial conference for July 16 at 9 a.m. before Judge Daina Vitolins.

District Attorney Steve Leriche said Hiland's dentist, Dr. Andrew Toms of Madras, saw the news conference and provided dental records. He thanked the dentist "for his civic mindedness in helping to identify Mr. Hilands. Dr. Toms’ actions tremendously sped up the identity process and saved public resources."

A court filing Wednesday by Senior Deputy District Attorney Brentley Foster lists three factors that increase the possible sentence: that Owen was on supervision at the time of the crime, that previous "sanctions have not deterred" her illegal actions, and that Owen "has demonstrated disregard for laws and rules, making successful probation unlikely."

Central Oregon / Crime And Courts / Jefferson County / News

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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