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Trevor Walraven was convicted of an unthinkable crime when he was 14 years old. He spent nearly 18 years in prison before he was released. In this two-part conversation, we talk to him about the crime he committed, his co-defendant, how he spent his time in prison, and his emergence as an advocate for giving other inmates a second chance to become productive members of society.

Special Guest: Trevor Walraven

Trevor Walraven spent nearly 18 years in prison for a murder he committed when he was 14 years old. He was released after going through Oregon’s “Second Look” process, which required him to show he had taken responsibility for his crime and demonstrated “outstanding reformation.” He now advocates for criminal justice reform with a special focus on youth, who he argues are more likely to reform and deserve meaningful opportunities when released. Trevor co-founded the Oregon Youth Justice Project under the Oregon Justice Resource Center in mid 2018.

Read Transcript

Yeardley: [00:00:01] This week we sit down with Trevor, who was tried and convicted of murder along with his brother, Joshua, when Trevor was just 14 and Joshua was 18. Trevor served almost 18 years of a 25-year sentence when he was released under surprising circumstances while Joshua is still incarcerated. During our interview, Trevor walks us through his early childhood years, what life was like on the inside, his thoughts on accountability, and the advocacy work he now does for youth offenders. This is Crime and Punishment, Part 1.

[Small Town Dicks theme]

Trevor: [00:00:43] I feel like I will forever be attempting to repay a debt. I don’t believe I get to be redeemed. I don’t get to undo what I’ve done. It doesn’t matter if I save 10 million people tomorrow. Those choices are there.

Yeardley: [00:01:01] When a serious crime is committed in a small town, a handful of detectives are charged with solving the case. I’m Yeardley and I’m fascinated by these stories. So, I invited my friends, Detectives Dan and Dave, to help me gather the best true crime cases from around the country, and have the men and women who investigated them, tell us how it happened.

Dan: [00:01:26] I’m Dan.

Dave: [00:01:27] And I’m Dave.

Dan: [00:01:28] We’re identical twins.

Dave: [00:01:29] And we’re detectives in Small Town, USA.

Dan: [00:01:32] Dave investigates sex crimes and child abuse.

Dave: [00:01:34] Dan investigates violent crimes. And together, we’ve worked on hundreds of cases including assaults, robberies, murders, burglaries, sex abuse, and child abuse. Names, places, and certain details, including relationships have been altered to protect the privacy of the victims and their families. Though we realize that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we hope you’ll join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved out of respect for what they’ve been through. Thank you.


Yeardley: [00:02:12] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.

Dan: [00:02:18] Good morning.

Yeardley: [00:02:19] Good morning. And we have Detective Dave.

Dave: [00:02:21] Great to be here.

Yeardley: [00:02:22] Great to have you. And we’re very pleased to welcome a new guest to the podcast, Trevor Walraven.

Trevor: [00:02:29] Thanks for having me.

Yeardley: [00:02:30] Thanks for coming. So, Trevor, we don’t usually use our guest’s full names, but you and your story are quite well known. So, why don’t you just start from the beginning?

Trevor: [00:02:43] Well, thank you. Typically, I acknowledge that I grew up in southern Oregon. I have a brother, half-brother, who’s four and a half years older than I am. Parents moved from LA to get away from the big city. So, I grew up on 52 acres of forest land surrounded predominantly by BLM.

Yeardley: [00:03:00] And what’s BLM?

Trevor: [00:03:01] Bureau of Land Management. So, it’s government property.

Dan: [00:03:04] Public lands.

Yeardley: [00:03:05] Okay. Is it just like living on parkland?

Trevor: [00:03:09] No, because we own the property that we lived on, but everything surrounding it was very forested and mountain.

Yeardley: [00:03:14] Oh, I see.

Dan: [00:03:15] It’s quite good to be surrounded by BLM land.

Yeardley: [00:03:18] Why is that?

Dan: [00:03:19] Because it’s usable land. You own the 52 acres that you live on, but you can go out and go out on BLM land and four wheel and camp.

Trevor: [00:03:28] We grew up with motorcycles and four wheelers and three wheelers and dirt bikes, and we certainly drove on their land. There was a lot of logging roads around that area as well, so those roads were also accessible. Homeschooled for the majority of my early years. When my brother got to the age of wanting to have a peer group, because we grew up so remotely, he wanted to go to high school, play sports, relationships with girls, and not wanting to be left at home. I very much followed that same lead and started going to school very similar time. As a result of that, I remember my parents, specifically my dad saying that the first people that accept you are likely the people that you don’t want to hang out with and be accepted by.

Yeardley: [00:04:11] Interesting. Why is that?

Trevor: [00:04:13] I think there is some belief, I would say that those who are most welcoming of new folks want to build their numbers, and that’s certainly been true of the prison environment that I’ve experienced. But beyond that, I think just the idea of earning your place and also being mindful of who you associate with was something that my dad recognized. Us having grown up the way we did, being prone to wanting acceptance by a peer group because we hadn’t really had that experience.

Yeardley: [00:04:46] So, you were vulnerable. He said, just be cautious of your vulnerability basically.

Trevor: [00:04:51] Yeah, and certainly didn’t articulate it that precisely, but the general idea was put out there. For me, I was going to hang out with people that were older than me because I was just more mature, at least in the way I conducted myself. I grew up predominantly around adults. So, for a living my parents were in the antique and collectible business. We didn’t have a store or anything like that, so we traveled around mostly the western US and went to antique shows and we would help move people in and out. We grew up doing logging projects around the home, splitting firewood, so all kinds of things that built some level of maturity.

[00:05:26] So, for me, being 12 years old when I started going to school and started associating with those individuals, I started doing the same kinds of things at a much younger age. So, I used methamphetamines, for example, for the first time when I was 12, as well as smoked weed, and drank, and hallucinogens. So, by the time I was 13, I was a fairly regular user for being as young as I was.

Yeardley: [00:05:50] How do you hide something like that? Meth ravages you I hear quite quickly and pretty obviously.

Trevor: [00:05:56] Yeah. I would say that the meth today from what I’ve heard and seen is very different than it was back then. Not that it was good back then by any stretch of the imagination, but it didn’t ravage you, I think in the same ways as quickly as it does nowadays. Again, that’s just from what I’ve seen, not personal experience in the latter part of my life.

Yeardley: [00:06:17] [laughs] Fair.

Trevor: [00:06:20] So, I know the first time that I ever got high, when I was 12. My dad knew it and he didn’t say anything to me, but he said something to my brother and looked at my brother recognizing that I looked up to my brother in a lot of ways, and recognizing that really he was going to be the one to keep his eyes on me more so than my parents. He basically told my brother that he needed to look after me, and it was important that keep me safe and those kinds of things.

Yeardley: [00:06:46] And what’s your brother’s name?

Trevor: [00:06:48] Joshua.

Yeardley: [00:06:49] Was your brother doing the same stuff, that’s how you got into it?

Trevor: [00:06:53] Yeah. Those are my choices. I wanted to be a part of that community, so I don’t fault him or my parents for my choices. Throughout my life, I recognize how things transpired and reasons why I went down the road I did. I recognize those things through reflection in a lot of years, but I don’t negate responsibility in any of this.

Yeardley: [00:07:15] Right. And Joshua is your half-brother?

Trevor: [00:07:19] Yep.

Yeardley: [00:07:19] And so, the parents that you were growing up with, are they both your mom and dad and Joshua’s?

Trevor: [00:07:27] Same mom, different dads.

Yeardley: [00:07:29] Got it.

Trevor: [00:07:30] My dad raised Josh since he was about two years old.

Yeardley: [00:07:33] For all intents and purposes, he was also Joshua’s dad.

Trevor: [00:07:37] Yes.

Yeardley: [00:07:38] Okay.

Trevor: [00:07:38] Part of what that did is me being in that environment pretty quickly and around individuals that were in their older teens and early 20s, there were several occasions where somebody would find out that they had a 13-year-old with them doing meth and they weren’t okay with that, which I recognize is completely understandable nowadays. But back then, that was rejection. Back then it was feeling ostracized and not accepted. And for me, that peer group was so important that I maintain a part of it. And so, in my mind, at 14, the way I felt like I could maintain my relationships with those peer groups was to gain the respect. The way I figured I could do that was by instilling fear.

Yeardley: [00:08:19] That’s incredibly emotionally sophisticated to figure that out at that young age.

Trevor: [00:08:25] Well, and again, a lot of this is hindsight. Many of the things that I say today were not fully recognized back then. But looking at who I was and thinking about how I developed in these different pieces in my life, had you asked me this stuff at 14 years old, I would have had no clue.

Yeardley: [00:08:43] You couldn’t articulate it that way.

Trevor: [00:08:45] Absolutely not. But nowadays, again, I’ve thought a lot about all of these things. As we societally typically do, learn from history and not repeat those same choices. So, in my mind, part of the way I would do that was by having money and drugs and all of these kinds of things. I decided that I was going to commit a robbery. Again, at 14 years old, my mentality was that, if I didn’t have a witness after the fact, then I would be less likely to get caught. So, I ended up robbing and killing an innocent man, who I’d never before met, when I was 14 years old and was arrested shortly thereafter, within about a week. Both my brother and I were taken into custody.

Dave: [00:09:38] Can we go back through the actual crime itself? I’m interested in how you selected your target, what kind of conversations you had with Joshua prior to that, how you set it up? Did you select a time to do it? Were you waiting for him to be alone? How in a 14-year old’s mind who is planning a robbery and with a thought in the back of their mind that there can’t be any witnesses, how that evolution started, and then what happened at the crime scene?

Yeardley: [00:10:08] And were you nervous?

Trevor: [00:10:10] Yes, I was nervous and scared would be probably the most accurate word, but I was also very full of this idea that I had to be macho. I really glamorized the criminal lifestyle. I wanted to sell drugs. I wanted to be someone to contend with. That’s what was attractive to me at that point in my life. And so, in conversations leading up to this. Josh was not there. He actually wasn’t there at the crime scene. He had gotten in a motorcycle accident the day before, so was at home sleeping. Another piece, again, a lot of this isn’t reflection was a way for me to be the big shot, and stand up, and take care of something on my own.

[00:10:55] In conversations leading up to that and talking about robbing someone, Josh was not supportive of going as far as I was, and I gauged that and tempered my responses to him, so that I wasn’t so much glamorizing or saying, “This is what we have to do.”

Yeardley: [00:11:17] You downplayed the whole scenario to him.

Dave: [00:11:23] Your brother’s at home because he’s had an accident and you set off. Did you already know which place you were going to rob, or did you just set out going, “Hey, I’ll find a place and it’s kind of spontaneous”?

Trevor: [00:11:35] It was very spontaneous. I actually walked to the bottom of the driveway and just waited for someone to drive by. There was no selection process whatsoever.

Dave: [00:11:43] Okay.

Yeardley: [00:11:44] And were you high?

Trevor: [00:11:45] I was not.

Yeardley: [00:11:47] Wow.

Dan: [00:11:47] So, you’re standing at the bottom of the driveway, which criminally, is not a great idea-

Trevor: [00:11:56] I was 14.

Dan: [00:11:57] -to do it right in front of your house. But let’s just walk through this, what happens.

Trevor: [00:12:04] This is not very publicly commuted road. So, it was probably 100 yards from my driveway, but very close to it. I walked out in the middle of the road when I saw a vehicle approaching and moved far enough not to get hit, but waved my hand to say, “Hey, can you stop,” type thing. Gentleman stopped, I opened the door, and pulled out a gun and pointed at him, and told him that I wanted him to drive me somewhere, and got in the vehicle, and directed him where to drive. I really didn’t have a plan or a spot or anything else. It was just like, “Drive for a while, and then okay, here’s a road that I know this road, so turn up this road. It’s an old logging road and continue to drive until, “Okay, here’s a good spot. Go ahead and stop. Get out of the vehicle.'” So, very spontaneous, if you will, and not nearly as preplanned as one might think.

Dave: [00:13:10] What kind of things was your victim saying to you? What’s the conversation in the car on the way up this logging road?

Trevor: [00:13:16] Sure. It was very minimal. I was telling him that I wasn’t going to hurt him that I just needed to be dropped off somewhere, I just needed to get someplace, so people would meet me. I believe he said something to the effect of, “Just please don’t hurt me. I’ll take you wherever you need to go,” those kinds of things.

Yeardley: [00:13:40] Trevor, what was the victim’s name?

Trevor: [00:13:42] I would prefer not to say out of respect for the family.

Yeardley: [00:13:46] I get that. I understand that. How old was he?

Trevor: [00:13:49] He was in his 60s, his early 60s.

Yeardley: [00:13:52] So, interesting that you were menacing enough that he felt like you were most definitely the alpha. Yes, you had the gun, but you’re also 14. So, he also might have thought, “Fuck this kid. I can totally overpower him, and just elbow you and knock the gun out of your hand.” Any number of things could have happened, but they didn’t.

Trevor: [00:14:14] Yeah. When he saw the gun, he reached for me initially, and I backed up a little bit and hey-hey. And then he like, “Okay.” I think probably recognized that there was a gun and, “Okay, I’m just going to focus ahead and comply.”

Yeardley: [00:14:31] Right. Where did you get the gun?

Trevor: [00:14:33] I got it from the family. It was actually my brother’s that was given to him several years before. But we grew up. We had a skeet throwing machine. I don’t know what it’s called.

Yeardley: [00:14:45] What is that?

Trevor: [00:14:46] Clay pigeons.

Dave: [00:14:47] Clay pigeons, shotguns, that kind of stuff.

Trevor: [00:14:49] Yeah. And was raised around guns throughout our life. I had a chipmunk. I believe, my first gun, a .22 chipmunk and pellet guns and revolvers. That was just kind of part of that environment.

Dave: [00:15:04] You’re competent with a handgun. It wasn’t a, “Oh, shit, what is this?” You knew how to handle it.

Trevor: [00:15:09] Sure.

Dave: [00:15:10] Yeah.

Yeardley: [00:15:11] So, you drive up this logging road that you’re familiar with and you get him just– Does it have a dead end or something?

Trevor: [00:15:18] No, it goes for hundreds of miles. Those logging roads all interconnect and go all over the place, and they all do out there in those areas.

Yeardley: [00:15:28] And what time of day are we talking?

Trevor: [00:15:30] It was middle of the day.

Yeardley: [00:15:32] And so, you basically drive until you figure, “We’re well out of sight, out of– nobody could hear anything.” And then you make him get out of the car?

Trevor: [00:15:42] Yes. I instructed him to get out of the vehicle, and we both headed to the front of the vehicle, and I was absolutely shaking, and scared, and it was also very surreal, and I was numb in a lot of ways. But when we got to the front of vehicle, I raised the gun to point at him and he bent down at the waist and I pulled the trigger and that was it.

Yeardley: [00:16:08] He bent over like to touch his toes?

Trevor: [00:16:10] Like to duck out.

Yeardley: [00:16:12] Ah. And did you shoot him in the head?

Trevor: [00:16:14] I did.

Yeardley: [00:16:16] What did you do after that?

Trevor: [00:16:18] He fell backwards. We were face to face a little more than the width of a vehicle, and so I would imagine on impact pushed him back. I walked up and nudged him because again, it was all very surreal, only having seen that stuff in movies, if you will. So, I went through his pockets, and took what I found, and drug him over to the side of the road, and rolled him down the hill a little bit and covered it with some brush and left.

Dave: [00:16:51] As you’re telling that right now, what kind of emotions are going through you as you recall that scene?

Trevor: [00:16:58] Tremendous amount of shame, and a deep level of responsibility in a lot of different ways. Every ounce of regret that one can muster.

Yeardley: [00:17:20] It’s hard to imagine losing a loved one, a wife, a husband, a child. For many of us, it’s our biggest fear. Hey, Small Town Fam, it’s Yeardley. I want to tell you about a podcast from Wondery called The Vanished. The Vanished covers unsolved missing persons cases that have been overlooked or forgotten by the mainstream media. Every week, host, Marissa Jones dives into a new case sharing the details of a person’s mysterious disappearance, which she’s gathered from interviews with family, friends, law enforcement, even suspects in an effort to reveal the truth. The Vanished has actually helped secure long overdue arrests, thanks to these in-depth interviews.

[00:18:11] Marissa reminds listeners of the human behind the headline and aims to help family members find their vanished loved one or at least a sense of peace. Enjoy The Vanished on the Wondery app or wherever you get your podcasts. If you join Wondery Plus, you can listen to The Vanished early and ad free. You can join Wondery Plus in the Wondery app or on Apple Podcasts.


Dave: [00:18:51] So, you stowed the body away, hoping to conceal it. And what are your next steps?

Trevor: [00:18:58] I get in the vehicle and go home.

Dave: [00:19:01] When you show up, it’s just your brother at home?

Trevor: [00:19:03] Correct.

Dave: [00:19:05] Does he have a, where’d you get that kind of look on his face?

Trevor: [00:19:08] He does. He was groggy because I woke him up when I got home. I think there was definitely a level of disbelief at first, but also a level of like, “Shit, you go with it. This is my little brother. I don’t necessarily know what to believe, but we’re going to move forward.”

Yeardley: [00:19:29] You said before that it was about a week before you were arrested, what did you do during that week?

Trevor: [00:19:36] So, ended up going on a date, actually, that night with the man’s money and his vehicle.

Yeardley: [00:19:42] How much money?

Trevor: [00:19:43] $100. There was some change, but five $20. Went on a date and visited people, tried to sell the vehicle to get money, used drugs, and came back. Came back on the 31st of July. So, it was several days, 26th, 27th to 31st. We were arrested August 1st of 1998. When we got home, our parents had been on antique trip. So, they got back and heard that we were being looked for, we got back and heard that we were being looked for in connection with the vehicle and a missing person. I quickly came up with a lie as to how the vehicle had been attained. I actually came up with that lie before coming back and finding out that we’re being looked for.

[00:20:32] But we went into the police station and told a lie about how it had been given to us and something that very quickly unspun with detectives working with a 14-year-old brain, and obviously, not a very well put together lie. We ended up being arrested the morning of August 1st, 1998.

Dan: [00:20:54] You basically turn yourself into the police and they interview you. Do you confess?

Trevor: [00:21:00] No.

Dan: [00:21:02] What do you tell them?

Trevor: [00:21:03] I tell them that I had gotten the vehicle from someone from California.

Dan: [00:21:08] They obviously don’t believe you.

Trevor: [00:21:10] No.

Dan: [00:21:11] Do they find the victim?

Trevor: [00:21:12] They do.

Dan: [00:21:13] How do they find the victim?

Trevor: [00:21:15] By searching. Just continued search efforts that had been ongoing since he was reported missing.

Dave: [00:21:19] When you heard that news, was there an, ‘Oh shit’ moment?

Trevor: [00:21:22] I heard the news as I was put in handcuffs.

Dave: [00:21:25] Oh, gotcha. At what point did you tell Joshua what actually occurred?

Trevor: [00:21:30] I don’t recall when that real conversation happened initially. I remember when we’re in Reed’s Port.

Yeardley: [00:21:37] Is that while you’re on your joyride?

Trevor: [00:21:38] Yeah. I had, again, very much in the criminal element. I had suggested that we rob a pizza delivery man, and I had suggested that in the presence of someone who became one of the state star witnesses against both me and my brother. I said something to the effect that I had done much worse than robbing someone, a pizza delivery man, and in fact, had done so to get the vehicle. I don’t know if that was a deeper recognition for my brother that this is real. But one of the things that many people spoke to in the aftermath was how my brother and I were not getting along as well as we typically had. Like, we were short with each other, and there was obviously tension between us.

Yeardley: [00:22:30] He was not there when you killed this man, why was he also arrested and charged for this felony?

Trevor: [00:22:37] Yeah, so part of the idea was were really tight and we had been seen together in days proceeding. There was the belief that there was no way Josh would have not have been part of something that I did. We were just that close. I think in a lot of ways, the jury in his trial thought that I did it, and the jury in my trial thought that he did it.

Dave: [00:22:58] Like, you guys are a package deal. Wherever you went, he was there. Wherever he went, you would be right on his hip.

Trevor: [00:23:03] Yep. A lot of leading up to that was like, he had transportation before I did, so we would always be together in his truck. We were regularly with each other and around each other, and my friend group was all borrowed from his, predominantly.

Yeardley: [00:23:17] Right.

Trevor: [00:23:18] So, my brother was charged with felony murder, and I was charged with aggravated murder and several counts of regular murder.

Yeardley: [00:23:24] What’s the difference between felony murder and aggravated murder?

Trevor: [00:23:29] Aggravated murder, there has to be aggravating circumstances. So, essentially, the commission of a crime, and then in order to hide your identity or to conceal that the crime was committed, those are all aggravating circumstances. There’s definitely a difference between how you get to felony murder as opposed to how do you get to aggravated murder. It has more intent, I would say, because a lot of your felony murders are like, someone goes in to rob a bank and you’ve got someone sitting in the car as the driver, and therefore, they know that a felony is being committed. In the course of the bank robbery, someone dies. It wasn’t planned to kill someone, but someone ended up getting killed. And now the individuals sitting in the car are equally liable for felony murder, because they knew that a felony was taking place.

Yeardley: [00:24:13] Right.

Trevor: [00:24:14] This was 1998. That meant that if there was a belief that someone was part of a felony, they were responsible for whatever the worst case scenario was.

Yeardley: [00:24:23] Were you afraid to go to prison, or were you like, “Fuck that, I can take prison I’m all right”?

Trevor: [00:24:29] No, I was scared to death.

Yeardley: [00:24:32] How long did you serve in prison?

Trevor: [00:24:34] Altogether, I served a little under 18 years.

Yeardley: [00:24:37] Do you see that moment when you killed that man, when you fall asleep at night?

Trevor: [00:24:43] I don’t.

Yeardley: [00:24:46] Did you ever?

Trevor: [00:24:49] Not in the traditional way. This is kind of jumping maybe ahead, if you will, but I didn’t take responsibility for my actions for over a decade. Part of that was telling myself the story that I was innocent, that I hadn’t done these things, and pushing that stuff down as far and as deeply as I could. This all happening pretty quickly. Also then being put into an environment at 14 years old where I’m incarcerated, and being put into adult county jail at 16, also incarcerated, and recognizing that these are not spaces to be vulnerable. And so, a good portion of my life, I pushed that stuff aside as much as I could.

[00:25:40] I was also I mean, there were times throughout my incarceration in my early years specifically, where I still glamorized the criminal lifestyle, and I still looked up to that, and I tried to walk this double line, if you will, where I didn’t have any problems to speak of. I followed the rules and everything like that while I was incarcerated. But I also knew these things were real about myself, but I was trying to tell myself this story in, many ways no different than the story I told myself that I needed to fit in, and I needed an individual’s acceptance. The same kind of story I would tell myself, “You’re innocent. You didn’t do this,” thinking in very young mind, but if you have to take a lie detector, like, you have to convince yourself. I never took a lie detector. But again, being young and incarcerated in those settings, vulnerability was not an appropriate reaction. At least that was my belief.

Dave: [00:26:34] When it comes to your brother’s case, I imagine there’s plenty of controversy about whether or not he could believed, if he was there, if he wasn’t present. Because he’s in prison for murder and you’re contending that he wasn’t there. I imagine the detective who investigated this case or the team of detectives still are convinced that your brother was there.

Trevor: [00:27:01] Yeah, and they very may well be. I think that the two biggest pieces that they stood on was that we were always together, and so he had to have been there. And the other piece was that they didn’t feel like I could have done it physically by myself, like, I could have moved a body, those kinds of things, they didn’t feel like I was capable of doing that. To the best of my knowledge, those are what they stand on to say that he had to have been there.

Dave: [00:27:29] There’s no physical evidence tying him to this scene on the logging road?

Trevor: [00:27:32] No.

Dave: [00:27:32] Of course he’s in the car that was stolen. So, there’s going to be evidence that he’s there. He was seen in it. You guys are together in the immediate aftermath of all this for days on a joyride around central Oregon and the coast?

Trevor: [00:27:46] Yeah.

Dan: [00:27:47] Where’d the gun go?

Trevor: [00:27:49] I don’t know where it went.

Yeardley: [00:27:54] Did you throw it away?

Trevor: [00:27:55] So when I got home, I’m not 100% where I put it. I don’t know if I put it back in a cabinet. I don’t know. I threw the keys at one point away somewhere, and I don’t remember– [crosstalk]

Yeardley: [00:28:09] The car keys?

Trevor: [00:28:10] Yes.

Yeardley: [00:28:10] Oh.

Trevor: [00:28:11] But that was when I came back. So, I actually don’t know what happened to the gun. It was never found,-

Yeardley: [00:28:18] Oh.

Trevor: -but I don’t know what happened to it. I know it’s gone, but I don’t know what happened to it. It’s a long time ago. So, some things I remember clear as day and other things I don’t. Sometimes, I know throughout my time I’ve looked at the record in terms of who said what, when, or what day something happened. I’m not here to dispute it, but I also don’t remember that that’s when it happened, because for whatever reason, some things stick with you and some things don’t.

[00:28:55] Over the years, I’ve looked back at trial transcripts and I’ve looked back at police reports, and there’re things that I know didn’t happen that way, and there’re other things that I don’t dispute that happen that way, but I don’t remember them. And so, for me, part of what I chalk things up to, if you will, is partly a lot of time having passed, partly wanting to forget a lot of these pieces and actively trying to forget many of these pieces for good portions of my life, and also wanting to find that balance of the deepest level of transparency that I can, because, again, getting back to the core of who I am today, I don’t want to cause any more harm, and I don’t want to throw something out there that’s untrue or misrepresent something, and that’s just how I operate.

Dan: [00:29:58] But you can understand how a detective or a prosecutor would have a big problem with that.

Trevor: [00:30:03] Absolutely. I lied about what happened to the gun. Early on, I said that it was stolen.

Yeardley: [00:30:10] That somebody stole it after the guy was shot?

Trevor: [00:30:12] Before. I said that all of our weapons had been stolen prior to the crime.

Yeardley: [00:30:18] Ah, I see.

Trevor: [00:30:19] So, there were no guns.

Dave: [00:30:20] Basically, he didn’t have the capacity or the ability to shoot anybody because he didn’t have any guns anyway. They’d already been taken.

Dan: [00:30:27] You think about a 14-year-old mind trying to cover this crime up, how do you explain the coincidence of you having the vehicle? That’s what a 14-year-old mind is trying to navigate, how do I patch up all these holes and you just can’t, can’t do it.

Yeardley: [00:30:42] Right. But you had quite a few guns in the house. Did you get rid of all of them?

Trevor: [00:30:47] No.

Yeardley: [00:30:48] Oh, just the one that you don’t know what happened to it?

Trevor: [00:30:52] Yeah. So, I got rid of another one before that for meth, but that was beforehand.

Dave: [00:31:00] Did they serve a search warrant at your residence?

Trevor: [00:31:02] Oh, yeah.

Dave: [00:31:03] Okay.

Trevor: [00:31:03] Several, I think.

Dave: [00:31:04] So, you get the full meal deal. I imagine this was huge news down there. Before the age of the internet and everything being on Twitter and everything like that, but small community, this is going to send ripples through everything around there. Your brother’s trial, do you recall how long the jury was out?

Trevor: [00:31:23] I don’t.

Dave: [00:31:24] What about yours?

Trevor: [00:31:26] It wasn’t that long. It was, I think, hours.

Yeardley: [00:31:29] Were you nervous while they were out? Did you think they might acquit me?

Trevor: [00:31:36] In some ways, I would say, “Yeah. I had been telling myself this story.” There’s a tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence in the case, but there wasn’t a lot of straightforward, like, this is a guarantee. One of the things they said I remember was like, “The bullet could have been a .38, it could have been a .357, it could have been a .9 millimeter. They didn’t know what it was. So, there was just a lot of testimony suggesting this or that, but no smoking gun, if you will.

Dave: [00:32:20] So, looking back at that point in your life, your respect for the criminal culture, and you talked about a star witness against you and your brother, and then going through prison, and everything that goes along with anybody who cooperates with the police, how do you look back on that person nowadays and the fact that they testified against you?

Trevor: [00:32:43] I recognize it for what it is, essentially, in that they weren’t doing the wrong thing. My brother would have been out a long time ago had he testified against me, but he refused to do so. I also recognize that the way in which you go through prison, those kinds of things, very much impact how you succeed or fail while you’re incarcerated. And so, I can’t predict the future or past and changes. But how he would have developed had he testified against me, for example, and gone through prison, I would imagine is very different than who he is today.

Yeardley: [00:33:22] Who is he today?

Trevor: [00:33:24] He remains my older brother. He’s working on his master’s degree. He received his bachelor’s from the U of O in May of last year.

Yeardley: [00:33:33] In prison?

Trevor: [00:33:35] Correct. Yeah. He went to the University of Oregon for a short period of time prior to incarceration. He runs the same maintenance department that I ran. When I was there, and we worked together while were both there at OSP. He has done a lot of writing. He has reflected deeply, as have I, and harbors a great feeling of responsibility for my actions recognizing that he was the older brother and he was tasked with looking after me and feeling a lot of responsibility that he introduced me to drugs and those kinds of things, and recognizing the harm that he’s a part of as the result of my actions.

[00:34:21] I don’t place those things on him, very much recognize that those were choices that I made, and I recognize that there were influences throughout my life, and he was one of them. But it’s not his fault for how I responded to influences and how I interpreted things. We learn differently, he and I, as does everyone. And so, the way that I processed and interpreted things, he could not have guessed at my outcome.

Yeardley: [00:34:45] When is he due to get out?

Trevor: [00:34:48] August of 2023. So, he– flat 25-year sentence.

Yeardley: [00:34:53] I see. Okay.

Dave: [00:34:55] That’s the prescribed Measure 11 Sentence for a murder.

Trevor: [00:34:58] Correct.

Dave: [00:34:59] 25 is the standard and then if there’s aggravating circumstances, you can get time tacked onto that or you can get denied parole, that kind of thing.

Yeardley: [00:35:08] Right. Was he eligible for parole at any time or just flat 25 years?

Trevor: [00:35:12] It’s flat 25 years, Measure 11s day for day.

Yeardley: [00:35:15] I see.

Trevor: [00:35:15] So, there is no earn good time or anything else on Measure 11 Sentences.

Dave: [00:35:18] No programs, nothing.

Trevor: [00:35:20] No incentive to do anything other than day for day of your time.

Yeardley: [00:35:24] But you didn’t get 25 years, is that because you were a juvenile?

Trevor: [00:35:27] It was, but I was waived to adult court. Because I was 14 years old, I was ineligible for Measure 11 because you have to be at least 15 to be Measure 11 compliant. So, the sentence that I was handed down was life in prison for a minimum of 30 years before being eligible for parole. Legally, it’s the same thing as a life without parole sentence because they have to convert you from a life sentence to an eligibility for parole. That first opportunity for me, based on the window of time in which I was convicted, would be I would see the parole board after 25 years.

Dave: [00:36:07] At some point in recent years, there’s been court decisions that have come down to have courts take a second look at juvenile cases, especially, recognizing that there’s tremendous growth between the time you’re a juvenile to the time that you’re a mature adult and your brain has stopped developing. So, just out of the necessity to avoid cruel and unusual punishment or exorbitant sentences for a crime committed as a child, courts take a second look at sentencings on a case-by-case basis, and then reevaluate whether or not that person’s rehabilitated, what their next opportunity or window of time where they could get a look at parole. Is that accurate?

Trevor: [00:36:50] Yeah. Really, those cases started to come in 2005, where they banned the death penalty for individuals under the age of 18. Prior to that, they were eligible from the age of 16 and up to be sentenced to death depending on the state in which you resided. So, that was the first one. Then they said, “You cannot sentence youth under the age of 18 to mandatory life without parole. There has to be a meaningful opportunity for release at some point and somewhat ambiguous in terms of the meaningful opportunity.” In Oregon, we have five true juvenile life without parolees that were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes. Most people don’t know even who they are.

[00:37:35] There’s a difference between the de facto life without parole and someone who’s serving true life without parole. Meaning, they have no opportunity to see a parole board at any point unless something changes. And then individuals who are receiving 50-year and 60-year and 70-year sentences as kids. Part of the meaningful component is that when you have an opportunity, when it’s determined that you should be given an opportunity for release that there’s a meaningful life after the fact if you are indeed deemed appropriate for consideration for a second chance in the society.

[00:38:10] I did eight months in the first facility that I was at and then they opened up a facility in my own county, so I transferred to my own county’s detention facility. I can remember crying on the way leaving that facility for several reasons. One of them being, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what’s next for me. I don’t know what this new facility is like. One of them also being that I had developed a rapport and relationships with the staff there at the first one that now these people are gone for my life. There’s a recognition on some levels that these are the choices that I made, but there’s also the push away from that piece too.

Yeardley: [00:38:44] Sure. What about your parents? How are they taking this? Are they, “We stand behind you,” or, “Oh, my God, how did this happen? Who are you”?

Trevor: [00:38:56] They stood behind.

Yeardley: [00:38:57] Yes?

Trevor: [00:38:57] Yeah. They maintained visitation every opportunity they had. When both my brother and I were transferred out of Southern Oregon to up in the Salem area, my mom actually moved to be closer to us.

Yeardley: [00:39:11] Did they stay married?

Trevor: [00:39:12] They did not get married until my dad was on his deathbed.

Yeardley: [00:39:17] When you were 14 and you grew up quite in this isolated environment, that would seem to me would lend itself to a profound loneliness. Though you had your brother, there’s a hole inside that you’re trying to fill with these peer groups that aren’t serving you. They’re sending you down a road that is not a good road and that lead you to this really horrific act. So, I’m wondering, if you think of yourself as having had an unhappy childhood.

Trevor: [00:39:49] It’s a mix. I wasn’t abused either sexually, physically. I was raised with good morals and values, like, on the whole. We ate dinner as a family. I certainly can reflect back to situations that were not the best examples. I know that those played a role. But at the end of the day, I think partly based on my experience of being incarcerated and being around people who have had horrific upbringings and abuses of untold nature, that perspective gives me a lot of appreciation for having not had to live through those kinds of experiences. So, for example, and part of this is just shelteredness and part of it’s just being exposed to different communities, but I had no idea how common sexual abuse for girls and boys was growing up.

[00:40:48] That’s a huge background for so many of people who become justice informed. I didn’t have that. I’m incredibly grateful for not having it. But it’s also a piece of that perspective that says, “I didn’t have it bad. I wasn’t led down the wrong road.” That further informs who I am today in terms of taking responsibility and recognizing that I have a debt that I can never repay. That’s part of how I move forward. So, I don’t think of myself as having had an unhappy childhood, but I also very much recognize where pieces were missing or you know what I mean, where things should have been different maybe.

Dan: [00:41:32] If you could say anything to your victim or his family, what would it be?

Trevor: [00:41:39] Sorry is always the first thing that comes first and foremost to mind. It also, for me, is hard because it almost feels like a cop out. There aren’t words that can express how sorry I am for what I’ve done. I don’t expect them to think any differently than they have of me, but I will do everything in my power to make the right choices as I move through life, and that I have a deep level of respect and appreciation for their perspective in every way that I can.


Yeardley: [00:42:32] Coming up in Part 2 of Crime and Punishment.

Trevor: [00:42:37] The way I often reference our societal media view of incarceration is that it really doesn’t represent the loneliness that exists in prison, because it’s a very solitary type of environment. Part of what I recognized early on in my incarceration was that if I didn’t seek out opportunities to grow, to have responsibility that I wouldn’t mature at the normal rate. Because there’s this saying, if you will, that says whatever age you go into prison is going to be the age that you get out.


Yeardley: [00:43:18] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Logan Heftel, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin, and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.

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Dan: [00:44:20] -in search of the finest-

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Dan: [00:44:22] -true crime cases told-

Dave: [00:44:23] -as always, by the detectives who investigated them. So, thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.

Yeardley: [00:44:29] Nobody’s better than you.

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