The aggravated murder trial for a Myrtle Creek man has been pushed back almost a year, and the state says it plans to seek the death penalty.

Troy Russell Phelps, 34, is accused of killing Brandon Michael, also of Myrtle Creek, on May 31, 2017, at Lawson Bar along the South Umpqua River just south of Tri City.

The trial was scheduled to start on Oct. 1 of this year, but it’s now been moved to Sept. 8, 2020.

Deputy District Attorney Steve Hoddle they are proceeding with the case as a possible death penalty trial.

Phelps is accused of two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of kidnapping, arson and felon in possession of a firearm, along with several charges from a previous arrest in 2015.

Police said Phelps kidnapped Michael’s girlfriend and her 10-month-old baby and took them to a residence in Myrtle Creek after killing Michael. Police said the woman was able to escape and contacted police from a nearby residence.

Oregon State Police detectives said Michaels was shot several times with a small-caliber handgun.

Phelps remains lodged in the Douglas County Jail.

News-Review general assignment reporter Dan Bain can be reached by phone at 541-957-4221 or via e-mail at

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

(1) comment


Good idea Hoddle has. Of course, it will NEVER happen in Oregon. He'll do life on death row.

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