Suspected Portland serial killer was let out early due to COVID concerns
2023/07/20

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A career criminal being eyed in the grisly murders of four Oregon women in 2022 had his sentence cut short and was released a year earlier due to concerns over COVID-19 spreading behind bars.

Jesse Lee Calhoun, 38, was among about 1,000 inmates granted clemency by Democratic former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown as fears over the spread of the pandemic swept through the nation, the .

Calhoun had been sent to prison in 2019 on a series of felony convictions, including burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, injuring a cop and choking a police canine and was due to be jailed until June 2022.

He had also gotten time shaved off his sentence for joining inmates in fighting wildfires in the state.

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This week Calhoun was in the deaths of four women — Ashley Real, 22, Bridget Webster, Kristin Smith, 22, and Charity Lynn Perry, 24 — according to Willamette Week’s sources.

All four women died in suspicious circumstances in the Portland metro area and, alongside two other cases, sparked initial concerns of a serial killer in June.

“I think that they [police] are trying to make sure that they keep the public from being too freaked out about [a] serial killer. Either way, women are dying. And the numbers are rising,” Robyn Speaks

Her sister, Joanna, was found dead in a rural area with blunt force trauma to the head and neck, according to police.

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Her case was later declared a homicide.

Although authorities said they have evidence against Calhoun, he remains a suspect at this point.

“No charges have been filed against anyone in connection with any of these four death investigations,” the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said in a  with law enforcement agencies involved in the case.

“Investigators have interviewed multiple people in connection with these cases and have identified at least one person of interest that is linked to all four of the decedents.”

Calhoun is back behind bars on unrelated matters and being held at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario after current new Governor Tina Kotek revoked his early release and had him locked up.

Calhoun has a long string of busts dating to 2004, and previous prison time on an assault conviction in 2009.

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