Triple-homicide suspect forced woman to drive him from Oregon to Wisconsin, police say

Crime

NORTH BEND, Ore. — A man sought in the killings of his father and two other people in a small Oregon city forced a woman to drive him more than 2,000 miles to Wisconsin, where he surrendered to police, authorities said Sunday.

Oen Evan Nicholson approached Laura Johnson, 34, after she returned to her parking spot during her lunch break Friday in Springfield, Oregon, and forced her to drive him in her car, police said. Authorities were notified Sunday morning that Nicholson had surrendered to police peacefully in Milwaukee but did not release details about how he gave himself up.

Johnson was not hurt and was returning to Oregon, Springfield police said in a statement.

“He approached her in her vehicle with a gun,” Johnson’s father, Dennis Johnson, told KEZI-TV. “They said she was forced to drive 33 hours to where they’re at. She was able to talk him into turning himself in.”

Nicholson is suspected of killing his father, Charles Simms Nicholson, whose body was found in a trailer in an RV campground of The Mill Casino in the coastal city of North Bend, about 110 miles southwest of Springfield, on Friday.

While driving his father’s pickup truck, Nicholson is suspected of hitting and killing Anthony Oyster, 74, at the campground and critically injuring his wife, Linda Oyster, 73, Coos County District Attorney R. Paul Frasier said.

Nicholson is also suspected of shooting and killing resident Jennifer L. Davidson, 47, at a marijuana dispensary in North Bend shortly afterward, Frasier said.

The pickup was found Friday crashed and burned about 30 miles west of Springfield. A witness reported an armed man got out and ran into the woods, prompting an unsuccessful search, police said.

Nicholson was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his father, Oyster and Davidson as well as second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and failing to help a person injured in a traffic accident, Frasier said.

He will appear in court in Milwaukee in the coming days before returning to Oregon to face charges, Fraiser said. It was not clear if Nicholson has a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

“Words fall short of describing the tragedy that took place on Friday and the ensuing events in Lane County, and we are all left incredibly shaken,” said North Bend Mayor Jessica Engelke Sunday. “This is something you hope never happens in your community, in the town you call home.”

The Associated Press and KOIN contributed to this report.

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