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Appeals court overturns rape conviction from nearly 10 years ago

A Washington man who has spent nearly a decade in prison for raping a 7-year-old Douglas County girl has had his conviction overturned by an appeals court judge, who ruled that the man was likely incompetent to stand trial.

David Hugh Loeck, 76, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after a jury in 2012 found him guilty of raping the girl. However, following a series of appeals, a judge recently vacated the conviction and ordered the trial court to look at the case again.

In September, Loeck was transferred from the Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla to the Douglas County Jail. Since then, he has appeared before Douglas County Circuit Court Judge William Marshall more than a dozen times for updates on the case.

Marshall presided over the original trial in 2012. The case was prosecuted by then-Deputy District Attorney Kathleen Johnson, who now is also a Douglas County Circuit Court judge.

Former Roseburg attorney James A. Arneson represented Loeck during the trial and initial appeals. Arneson, who is now retired, could not be reached for comment.

According to court records:

The case dates back to the summer of 2009, and specifically two camping trips Loeck took in a motorhome with his wife, Linda, and the 7-year-old girl, who the couple knew. Some time after the trips, the girl disclosed that David Loeck had raped and sodomized her.

Loeck was indicted in January 2011, and charged with rape, sodomy and sexual abuse, all felonies.

The trial began on May 9, 2012. Only four people testified: the victim, her mother, David Loeck, and Linda Loeck. David Loeck’s testimony was brief and he denied all charges against him.

On May 12, 2012, the jury voted 10-2 to convict Loeck of all three charges. Arneson had appealed the judge’s decision to allow a nonunanimous verdict, to no avail.

A week later, Arneson filed a motion asking that the sentencing be postponed, stating in an affidavit that after meeting with Loeck he was concerned about “his ability to aid and assist” in the proceedings. Arneson asked for additional time to have Loeck evaluated by a psychologist, and Marshall agreed.

The sentencing was postponed and Loeck was examined. The psychologist diagnosed Loeck with PTSD, depression, and either a cognitive disorder or dementia and concluded that he “appears to have been impaired in his capacity to aid and assist at the time of trial.”

Loeck was then ordered to be taken to Oregon State Hospital for another evaluation. The OSH psychologist determined that Loeck “was able to understand the nature of the proceedings against him, but not to assist and cooperate with counsel, or to participate in his own defense.”

A subsequent examination by another OSU psychologist determined that Loeck’s cognition “appears to be at least adequate” and that he “presents as having the capacity to stand trial.”

In February 2013, Loeck had a new attorney, who filed a motion for a mistrial. In an affidavit accompanying the motion, Arneson expressed concerns that he may have overlooked Loeck’s ability to participate in the trial.

Following a hearing, Marshall denied the motion for a mistrial, ruling that it was too late to appeal the conviction based on Loeck’s competence during the trial. Marshall also noted that based on his observations during pre-trial hearings and the trial, he saw nothing to suggest that Loeck was not competent to stand trial.

On July 9, 2013, Loeck was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Over the years, Loeck and his attorneys appealed his conviction, to no avail.

Last April, the case came up again, this time before Senior Judge J. Burdette Pratt in Umatilla County. Pratt is semi-retired, but still presides over some cases. In a ruling signed last June, Pratt ruled that Loeck was indeed likely unfit to stand trial in 2012 and that his attorney should have known that and acted on it.

Pratt ruled that Loeck’s conviction be vacated and remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings.

“Petitioner proved that his trial attorney failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgement in failing to recognize signs that Petitioner was not able to aid and assist in his defense and to recognize that his lack of participation in his defense was due to his inability to do so,” Pratt wrote in his ruling.

Pratt also said that Arneson failed to recognize signs that Loeck “was unable to aid and assist due to a mental disease or defect.”

Pratt pointed out how face-to-face discussions between Arneson and Loeck were limited because they lived in different states — Loeck in Washington, Arneson in Oregon. Most of Arneson’s discussions with Loeck were through Loeck’s wife, the judge wrote. When Loeck did meet with Arneson, “he would quickly become frustrated and would go out to the car, leaving his wife to discuss his case with counsel,” he wrote.

Loeck “did little” to assist his attorneys for the trial, Pratt wrote. On the morning of the trial, Loeck’s co-counsel told Arneson that Loeck did not appear to understand the charges against him.

“Trial was about to begin and Arneson did not stop to assess whether Petitioner was able to aid and assist at trial,” Pratt wrote. “Trial counsel proceeded to trial with a client who did not understand the charges and had not and could not assisted in his own defense. Trial counsel then put his client on the stand without evaluating his capacity to aid and assist in his own defense. Petitioners testimony was very limited and at one point he appeared to become confused.”

It was not until “almost immediately after the verdict” that Arneson became concerned about Loeck’s mental capacity, the judge determined.

“The result of the trial was unreliable and the proceeding fundamentally unfair,” Pratt ruled.

With the case remanded back to his court, Judge Marshall is seeking to have Loeck examined again to determine if he is competent now to aid in his own defense. However, getting Loeck examined has proven to be difficult. At a hearing this past week, Marshall said the doctor evaluating Loeck has been delayed because of a death in the family.

Marshall also said he was informed that the doctor will need until the end of January to complete his examination and issue his report on Loeck’s current mental competence.

It is unclear what will happen next. While it is almost certain Loeck will not be released from prison, he might seek an agreement to have his sentence reduced.

That is what happened in another conviction Pratt overturned in a case also involving a heinous crime.

In 2019, Pratt overturned the conviction and death sentence of Angela McAnulty, the only woman sentenced to death in Oregon since state voters reinstated capital punishment in 1984. McAnulty was sentenced to death in 2011 after she pleaded guilty to murdering her 15-year-old daughter in 2009.

McAnulty’s case is one of the most infamous in modern Oregon history, and Pratt noted the evidence was “particularly gruesome.”

Prosecutors said McAnulty singled out her daughter, Jeanette Maples, to beat and starve while allowing her other two children to eat. In April 2011, a Lane County judge sentenced Maples’ stepfather, Richard McAnulty, to 25 years to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to murder by abuse.

Pratt ruled that Angela McAnulty should get a new trial because her attorneys failed to adequately represent or advise her during her trial. In August 2020, McAnulty accepted a plea deal in which she got life in prison.

The sounds of school spirit return to Roseburg High School with cheerleading competition

An infectious wave of clapping sounded across gym bleachers at Robertson Memorial Gym as Savanna Levering and her teammates finished their final performance in Saturday’s cheer competition.

Levering, a sophomore at Douglas High School, and her teammates joined several other teams to participate in the first in-person competition held at Roseburg High School since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago.

“I’ve really been looking forward to this,” Levering said. “It felt really good.”

Emmalynn Pritchard, who cheers for both the junior varsity and varsity teams at Roseburg, said she felt a rush of adrenaline after performing. This was her first opportunity to cheer for an audience at a competitive event since moving to the area two years ago. For Pritchard and fellow teammates, freshman Sarah Johnson and junior Mariah Matz, it made all the difference to start the season with support from each other.

“It’s not just a cheer team, it’s a family,” Johnson said. “We honestly care so much about each other and everybody is just so supportive that it really makes a difference.”

“It’s just so refreshing to have that feeling of being like, I can do this and I have people that have my back and support,” she said.

While standing on the sideline before his team’s performance, Wyatt Mills, a junior on the Roseburg varsity team, said he was looking forward to cheering for crowds again.

“I love the fact that I’m there to impress them,” Mills said.

And his team’s ability to impress may land them a spot in the nationals competition in Anaheim, California, this year. Not only would this be his first time competing in nationals, but the perfect opportunity to go to Disneyland Park, he said.

Julie Otley, head coach of cheerleading at Roseburg, said she’s seen a positive impact since the return of cheerleading. Since the start of the school year, she has seen performance improve not only on the mat but inside classrooms as well with higher grades and attendance.

“Now that it’s back (cheerleading), they’re so excited,” Otley said. “They’re just like, we want to do everything we can to keep it going and make sure that we get to continue doing this.”

To ensure practice and competitions continue, athletes wear masks and practice additional safety protocols while not performing.

“They want to protect their team and keep it healthy so we can go to state and also to nationals,” Otley said.

Meet the Democratic candidates for DeFazio's House seat

In the Democratic primary for U.S. House District 4, the race is heating up, with four contenders so far filing to run. Each hopes to replace longtime congressman Peter DeFazio, a Springfield Democrat.

The News-Review interviewed all four. Here, in no particular order, is what we learned about them:

Andrew Kalloch

Residence: Eugene

Occupation: Airbnb executive

Andrew Kalloch is on leave during his campaign from his role as a public policy executive for Airbnb. He is also a former civil rights attorney for the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

And he’s a co-founder of the Portland chapter of Better Angels, an organization that aims to depolarize politics and bring people across the political spectrum together.

Kalloch thinks his chances of winning the race are good. In December, he was just “a guy with a phone, a laptop and a dream,” he said, but he still raised $150,000 for his campaign compared with political insider Val Hoyle, who raised $210,000 that month.

“That suggests to me it’s a real ballgame,” he said.

Kalloch is concerned about the political rift in the Congress he hopes to join.

“I think partisanship is a poison on the American democracy,” he said.

He believes Republican leaders are doing a “dangerous dance with an anti-democratic movement.”

But he also noted that the Oregon Democrats have been in power for 12 years and the state has serious problems with homelessness, addiction and public education.

“We need to be humble in the face of that and approach people with respect and understanding that we all have to move forward together,” he said.

“It can’t be a blue state, red state, blue community, red community. The country can’t withstand that,” he said.

Kalloch feels lucky to have been able to return to Oregon with his family. Not everyone can, because of a lack of economic opportunity, especially in rural areas.

He said too often establishment Democrats have gone to rural parts of the district and told them what they can’t do instead of presenting positive, forward-looking plans for what they can do.

Kalloch said if he’s elected, one of the first bills he’d introduce would be to fundamentally reorder the Opportunity Zone Tax Credit. Right now, he said, that program’s so badly run it paid for a luxury hotel to be built in Portland.

He wants that money to be invested in the places that need it most.

Kalloch also wants to support a rural tourism economy that doesn’t turn people into minimum wage servers, but instead becomes a “pipeline for the middle class.”

He also wants to encourage development of technology in rural areas, making sure colleges and industries are “working hand in glove to make Oregon the proving ground for the next generation of technology.”

John SelkerResidence: Corvallis

Occupation: Oregon State University professor

John Selker has two reasons for making his run for Congress. One of them is a problem with the way many lawmakers make their decisions, based on politics rather than data.

“My feeling is that the decisions made in Washington are often not informed by people who really get the numbers,” Selker said.

Selker’s commitment to numbers is informed by his scientific background. He has been an OSU professor of water resource engineering for 30 years, and is the president-elect of the American Geophysical Union’s Hydrology Section.

He has worked on water resource issues on five continents. He even worked on water resources for pear trees right here in Roseburg.

The second reason for Selker’s run for Congress is his mother. Lisa Selker, who died when John Selker was 12. She was a Holocaust survivor. Lisa Selker was a huge supporter of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, he said.

“I knocked on doors with her for all sorts of things, and she just said John you know the biggest thing you could do is serve,” he said.

Selker said the political polarization in Congress is a huge concern. He plans to meet the challenge by focusing on problem solving rather than politics.

“Honestly, I have absolute faith that people who seek to be leaders in our country seek to bring good things for our country,” he said. “And so that’s the place where I start with everybody.”

Selker grew up in the logging town of Longview, Washington. Choker setters and loggers were his buddies and his father Alan Selker worked for Weyerhaeuser.

So he has some ideas about how to improve the economies in Douglas and other rural counties of District 4.

He said people are needed to go into the forests and cut out low-lying materials that create a ladder for wildfires, as well as unnecessary competition between trees.

“We first and foremost need to put laws in place where people have to manage the forests properly, and that’s going to put a ton of people to work,” he said.

He wants to encourage Oregon farmers to grow the highest value crops, citing the shift in the Willamette Valley from grass seed to hazelnuts.

He also wants to invest in the technical education people need.

“I just look forward to a community of people who wake up in the morning and say ‘Wow, I can learn these skills,’ not ‘Wow, how am I going to pay for my education?’” he said.

Valerie HoyleResidence: Springfield

Occupation: Oregon labor commissioner

Val Hoyle would bring the most political experience to the role. In addition to being the current elected Oregon labor commissioner, she’s a former House Majority Leader in the Oregon Legislature.

Hoyle represented District 14, covering West Eugene and Junction City, in the state House of Representatives from 2009 to 2017 and served as Majority Leader from 2013 to 2015.

She has also worked 25 years in the private sector, mostly in the bicycle industry.

Hoyle said District 14 is much like U.S. District 4 in that it’s a mix of liberal urban and conservative rural areas.

While she said she has more experience campaigning and more connections than the other Democratic candidates, she’s not making any predictions about the outcome of this race just yet.

“I don’t take anything for granted at all,” she said.

Hoyle said there are no easy answers when it comes to addressing rural economic difficulties. She said too many politicians either say the solution is restoring the jobs lost in the timber industry or replacing them with tourism.

“Neither one of those are realistic, quite frankly,” she said.

She wants to bring new jobs in healthcare and in the trades, and she’s a big fan of apprenticeship in those fields.

An iron worker apprentice can make $25 an hour in their second week of training, and an electrical line worker can make more than $100,000 four or five years into training. Young people need to be connected to those jobs, she said.

She also said broadband investment is important to bring in people who are able to work remotely.

She also wants to bring manufacturing back to Oregon, finding ways to give incentives to ensure companies keep jobs here instead of exporting them overseas.

And she favors development of a deep channel container port in Coos Bay, which would bring jobs, but also allow the district’s farmers to ship their crops from there instead of transporting them down to Long Beach, California or up to Seattle.

Hoyle said her politics are much like DeFazio’s, and like him she would handle the divisions in Congress by being straightforward.

“Everybody knows where I stand, and I’m not afraid to fight for the district,” she said.

Zachary MulhollandResidence: Eugene

Occupation: Government relations specialist

Zachary Mulholland defines himself as a progressive candidate. He said he’s running on universal health care, a $15 an hour minimum wage and addressing the climate crisis.

His climate change game plan includes electric vehicles, along with heat pumps for heating and cooling homes. He agrees with President Joe Biden’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2035.

Mulholland specializes in government relations and is a contractor for the environmental organization Beyond Toxics. His aim is to improve air quality in West Eugene through emissions reductions from industrial polluters and policies that will fight climate change.

Until recently, he also owned Duke’s Restaurant in Eugene, a business that didn’t survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

He is a former chairperson of the Eugene Sustainability Commission.

Democratic precinct committee members chose him as one of three nominees for a vacancy in state Senate District 7 covering North and West Eugene in 2016, but James Manning was appointed to the seat.

Mulholland also made an unsuccessful run for Eugene Water and Electric Board in 2018.

He has pledged to accept no money from corporate PACs.

Mulholland said the political polarization in the country is very concerning to him.

He said he has good friends who are Republicans and he loves them.

“I know that there are people on both sides that love this country and care about this country and believe in democracy and believe in democratic values,” he said.

“My intention will be to try and create relationships across the aisle around issues of mutual importance to bring benefits back home for Oregonians,” he said.

He said many rural Oregonians feel left behind by changes in federal timberland policy.

“I want those folks to know that I’m going to be there for them. I’m going to listen to them and I’m going to try to work with them,” he said.

He said many 21st century jobs, including technology jobs, will be remote. He wants to ensure people throughout the Fourth District can get those jobs.

That will require major investments in rural broadband, he said.

He also cited tourism and skilled trades as options, and said housing shortages need to be addressed. He said it will also be important to figure out how to take advantage of Oregon university research to create new jobs, products and industries.

Roseburg’s Alek Skarlatos is currently the only contender for the Republican nomination. Jeremy Van Tress, a Republican, has withdrawn from the race.