OREGON CITY, Ore. – The man accused of murdering Oregon barista Whitney Heichel spoke softly and appeared to cry Monday at his first court hearing.
Jonathan Daniel Holt, who turns 25 on Wednesday, was dressed in an anti-suicide smock during his arraignment on seven counts of aggravated murder. He did not enter a plea during the brief appearance by video at the Clackamas County courthouse.
Holt quietly gave one-word answers to questions posed by Judge Ronald Thom. He kept his head down and, at one point, seemed to wipe away tears.
Heichel, 21, of Gresham disappeared Oct. 16 after kissing her husband goodbye and leaving for her 7 a.m. shift at a nearby Starbucks. Her Ford Explorer, with the passenger side window smashed, was found at a Walmart six hours later, triggering a round-the-clock police investigation that ended with Friday night's discovery of her body on Larch Mountain, east of Gresham.
Court documents released Monday accuse Holt of committing kidnapping, sodomy and robbery in the course of killing her. An autopsy shows she died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Holt was a neighbor of the Heichels and authorities have described them as acquaintances.
Heichel's family released a statement in which they revealed that Holt was a member of their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation, though he only sporadically attended meetings.
The family said it had no indication that Holt was "capable of being involved in what is alleged to have happened."
The statement adds that many families have been affected by the tragedy.
"Jonathan's wife is, too, an innocent victim," it says, "and our love and support is as strong for her and her family."
Holt is expected to get a court-appointed attorney within three days and make a second appearance Friday.
He will continue to be held without bail in the county jail.