PORTLAND, Ore. – A man accused of killing an Oregon barista told police he fatally shot the woman after kidnapping her and forcing her to perform a sex act, according to a police affidavit.
The document containing the statement by suspect Jonathan Holt was released late Monday after his court appearance on seven counts of aggravated murder in the death of Whitney Heichel.
Though there was only one victim, Oregon law allows prosecutors to give jurors options for convicting a person by presenting multiple counts, each pegged to an aggravating factor such as robbery or sexual assault, that could lead to the death penalty.
Holt, who will have a public defender assigned to his case, did not enter a plea during the brief appearance by video.
Heichel, 21, of Gresham disappeared Oct. 16 after leaving for her 7 a.m. shift at a nearby coffee shop. Her Ford Explorer, with the passenger side window smashed, was found at a Walmart six hours later, triggering an investigation that ended with the Friday night discovery of her body on Larch Mountain, east of Gresham.
Holt and his wife lived in the same apartment complex as Heichel and her husband. The couples were acquaintances and members of the same Jehovah's Witness church.
The two-paragraph affidavit states that Holt told Oregon State Police Sgt. Jon Harrington that he waited outside Heichel's apartment and asked for a ride as she was leaving for work.
Minutes into the drive, he pulled a handgun and told her to drive to Roslyn Lake, the document says.
Holt then forced Heichel to perform oral sex before fatally shooting her, the affidavit states, adding that Holt disposed of his cellphone at the lake before driving to the mountain to conceal the body.
Heichel was shot four times. A report from the state crime lab said swabs from the steering wheel of the SUV revealed a male DNA profile consistent with that of Holt.
Holt, who wore an anti-suicide garment and cried during his video court appearance, remained held without bail in the Clackamas County Jail.