Crook County grand jury adds 12 new counts against murder suspect
Man charged in 2006 death of 4-year-old stepson
By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: January 20. 2007 5:00AM PST
A Crook County grand jury has amended the indictment of a Prineville man charged in the death of his 4-year-old stepson to include 12 new counts.
Donnie Earl Asher was previously charged with one count of murder and one count of manslaughter for the July 2006 death of Nicholas Muldrow. The grand jury arraigned him again Friday afternoon on 12 new counts, including six counts of aggravated murder, four counts of aggravated felony murder and two counts of aggravated murder by abuse, according to a news release from the Crook County District Attorney’s Office.
The charges carry a minimum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole and a maximum sentence of death.
The original charge of murder carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, Crook County District Attorney Gary Williams said. The district attorney hasn’t decided yet whether he will seek the death penalty.
The 12 counts represent alternative theories of Muldrow’s death, Williams said.
“Most DAs offices would present indictments to the grand jury for their consideration that have all the various provable theories of aggravated murder, so I would say it’s not unusual,” he said.
He added that one of the definitions of aggravated murder involves a crime with a victim under 14 years of age.
Asher was arrested on Aug. 2, 2006, after authorities were alerted that his stepson was in the hospital with serious injuries, according to earlier Bulletin reports.
The police said at the time that they believed Asher beat the boy while his wife, Jeanna Matson, was at work.
The family had recently moved from Madras to Prineville and was staying in a motel, the press release said.
Normally, grand jury terms last only two months in Crook County, but the court in this case held over the original grand jury in order to consider additional evidence, according to the release. The District Attorney’s Office presented to the grand jury the results of an investigation that took place over the past several months, Williams said.
Asher’s lawyer, Geoff Gokey, could not be reached for comment.
Asher remains in the Crook County Jail without bail. The dates for his trial or for pre-trial hearings have not been set.