The Myrtle Creek man convicted of stabbing a man to death in 2016 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Thursday.

Gunnar Dale Vachon, 24, was found guilty of murder after a four-day bench trial last week.

During Thursday’s sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Steve Hoddle recounted the events that led to then 41-year-old Christopher Bell’s death on Aug. 10, 2016.

Hoddle said Bell, Vachon, and Vachon’s mother and grandmother were hanging out at the grandmother’s Canyonville home when Vachon started to act strangely.

Vachon then walked into a bedroom where Bell was hanging out and stabbed him 11 times in the neck.

After that, Vachon ran out of the room covered in blood, yelling that he had just killed Bell, according to court documents. Both his mother and grandmother told him to get out of the house, according to court documents.

The two women then went to the bedroom and found Bell on the bed, bleeding heavily. They called 911 and attempted to stop the bleeding, but Bell was declared dead at the scene.

When Vachon was arrested, he admitted to a deputy that he killed Bell, but he later pleaded not guilty in court. In August, he waived his right to a jury trial.

Bell’s sister, Amanda Bell, gave a written testimony during the sentencing and said she was haunted by the thought of her brother’s brutal murder and final thoughts.

Vachon’s attorney, Donald Scales, said, “We want the Bell family to know how sorry we are for their loss.”

Scales said the young man sitting in court was not the same person who murdered Bell and that Vachon was remorseful for his actions.

Scales said he still believes mental illness had a role to play along with the use of controlled substances.

“He needs to take the rest of his life and dedicate it to the memory of Mr. Bell,” Scales said.

Vachon chose not to speak at the sentencing.

Saphara Harrell can be reached at 541-957-4216 or Or on Twitter @daisysaphara.

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Crime and Natural Resources Reporter

Saphara Harrell is the crime and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She previously worked at The World in Coos Bay. Follow her on Twitter @daisysaphara.

(2) comments


"...the young man sitting in court was not the same person who murdered Bell..." Oh yes, he's totally changed since he's been captured, put on trial, found guilty and given a life with out parole sentence.


Ummm...clear cut case for the death penalty.
I don't feel like supporting "people like this", who have no respect for another's life, any longer.

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