Teen shooting suspect will get new judge

By Chris Collins October 31, 2013 12:06 pm

By Chris Collins

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A court hearing scheduled Thursday for the 14-year-old boy charged with killing two Baker County men last month has been postponed until a new judge is assigned to the case.

Dillan Dakota Willford Easley is accused of fatally shooting his foster father, Michael Piete, 43, and Piete’s uncle, Kenneth C. Gilliland, 64, at a Grant County hunting camp near Granite in the early morning hours of Oct. 3.

Easley had been placed in foster care with Piete and his wife, Carlotta, by Douglas County authorities. The Pietes, Easley and Gilliland all lived on Dry Creek Road off Highway 30 southeast of Baker City on property owned by Gilliland.

During a Wednesday court hearing at Canyon City, visiting Malheur County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Sullivan granted the district attorney's motion to disqualify William D. Cramer Jr., Grant County Circuit Court judge, according to the Blue Mountain Eagle newspaper of John Day.

Under Oregon law, an attorney is not required to cite a specific reason for seeking a new judge as long as the motion is made in good faith and not for the purpose of trying to delay the matter.

The canceled hearing, which had been set to begin at 2 p.m. Thursday and to continue for up to three hours, will be rescheduled after attorneys have had a chance to meet with the newly assigned judge, the Blue Mountain Eagle stated.

Grant County District Attorney Ryan Joslin has filed a juvenile petition charging Easley with two counts of aggravated murder. Easley, who accidentally shot himself in the leg the night the two men died, was taken to St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise for treatment.

He was later released and is being held at the 32-bed juvenile portion of the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility (NORCOR) at The Dalles.

Joslin has made no statements about possible motives or whether he plans to charge the teenager as an adult.

Katherine O. Berger, a Portland attorney, has been appointed to represent Easley.

Easley’s parents are Stephanie Steinhoff of Reedsport and J.D.Wilford Easley of Myrtle Point, according to Douglas County Juvenile Department records.