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  1. #1

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    Robert James Acremant - Oregon




    Facts of the Crime:

    Convicted and sentenced to death in the murders of Roxanna Ellis ("Ellis") and Michelle Abdill ("Abdill") in Medford, Oregon, on December 4, 1995. Before her death, Ellis had operated a property management company with her daughter, Lori Ellis ("Lori"). On the morning of December 4, Ellis left her office for an 11:00 a.m. appointment to show a residence on Sheraton Court in Medford. When Ellis later missed a 2:00 p.m. appointment scheduled for that day, Lori became concerned for her mother. Lori repeatedly paged and called Ellis on her cellular telephone but initially received no response. Eventually, at about 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, Ellis telephoned Lori and told Lori that she was doing some shopping. Lori testified that Ellis normally responded immediately to any page or telephone call from Lori and that Ellis was uncharacteristically quiet during their telephone conversation. When Lori asked Ellis why she had missed her 2:00 p.m. appointment, Ellis responded that she must have had the wrong address. When Lori asked Ellis why she had not answered Lori's pages and telephone calls, Ellis responded that all the telephone circuits must have been busy.

  2. #2
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    December 14, 1995

    SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LESBIAN SLAYINGS

    A 27-year-old man suspected of killing two lesbian activists in Oregon was arrested yesterday at a Stockton motel by a police SWAT team acting on an anonymous tip.

    Robert James Acremant, who was being held at San Joaquin County Jail, confessed to the killings of Roxanne Ellis, 53, and Michelle Abdill, 42, his father told The Chronicle last night.

    The bodies of the women were found bound and gagged in the back of their pickup truck last Thurs- day in Medford, Ore. The women, who had been missing for three days, were each shot twice in the head.

    Kenneth Acremant of Stockton also said his son told him that he fatally shot his friend Scott George, a 23-year-old Visalia man who was reported missing in October.

    The elder Acremant said his son detailed his police confessions during a two-hour jailhouse visit between father and son yesterday. Police refused to tell reporters whether Robert Acremant confessed to the three slayings, but Kenneth Acremant said police investigators told him his son admitted to the killings.

    Gay rights advocates had feared that Ellis and Abdill were victims of hate crimes -- killed because of their sexual orientation and their fierce opposition to anti- gay rights measures in Oregon. But Kenneth Acremant, 49, said his son killed the women during a botched robbery and that he killed George in a fit of anger.

    ''My son over the years has never indicated any dislike for gays and lesbians,'' Kenneth Acremant said. ''He said his motive was to get money, and when something went wrong, he basically panicked and shot them.''

    Authorities learned of Acremant's whereabouts early yesterday from a tipster who said the suspect was in the Stockton area and driving a U-Haul moving van. A police SWAT team arrested him without incident at a Motel 6 in north Stockton.

    John Bondurant, chief deputy district attorney in Jackson County, Ore., said authorities were not ruling out any possible motives. However, he said, ''Nothing in the evidence we have indicates Mr. Acremant knew either of these women were lesbians.''

    Robert Acremant knew Ellis through a property management agency the women ran, investigators said. He rented an apartment four blocks from the scene of the killings.

    The younger Acremant, who earned a master's in business administration from San Francisco's Golden Gate University in 1990, moved to Medford last month with his mother after living for two months in Visalia.

    On Tuesday, according to Tulare County sheriff's investigators, he forced himself into the home of a 20-year-old female acquaintance near Visalia.

    He handcuffed and pistol-whipped the woman, demanding money. She escaped without serious harm when a friend showed up for a lunch date, police said.

    Acremant and the woman apparently talked for about an hour. He ''needed money to get out of town,'' said Visalia police Lieutenant John Gomes.

    In recent months, Visalia police repeatedly questioned Acremant in the October 3 disappearance of his friend George, who was last seen having drinks with Acremant at a restaurant. Acremant has told police that he dropped George off at George's home.

    Kenneth Acremant said his son told him that he shot George four times while the two men were driving in his car around September 30. ''He said they were out drinking and an urge came over him to want to kill,'' he said. ''He couldn't stop it -- it was just something he wanted to do.''

    The father said the son left a trucking job to market a computer program. After having problems selling the program, he ran out of money, which led to his girlfriend breaking up with him, the father said. ''There's been no indication in his life that he had any tendencies of this nature,'' said the elder Acremant, adding he was in ''disbelief'' over his son's alleged crimes.

    Cherie Garland, who became close friends with Ellis and Abdill through a gay support group, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said the arrest is a relief. ''It's a little bit of an ease of tension,'' she said, ''but a dread of what we are next to learn.''

    Robert Bray, a field organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said earlier that he and other gay-rights leaders remain concerned that the killings were motivated by bigotry. ''Given the circumstances of the case and the visibility of the two lesbian activists . . . it makes me very suspicious and concerned about the actual motive,'' Bray said.

    http://www.performative.com/hosts/ha...articles2.html

  3. #3
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    December 15, 1995

    Man Arraigned In Slayings Of Oregon Lesbian Couple

    MEDFORD - Wearing leg irons, confessed slayer Robert Acremant was arraigned today on indictments for aggravated murder, kidnapping and robbery in the execution-style deaths of a lesbian couple here.

    Jackson County Circuit Judge Loren Sawyer granted the public defender's request for a continuance of four weeks. A specific court date for Acremant to enter pleas was not set.

    Acremant, 27, was arrested last week in Stockton, Calif., after his parents turned him in. He also has said he killed a friend, Scott George of Visalia, Calif., during a night of drinking last October. Authorities have recovered a body believed to be that of George from a mine shaft on a ranch owned by Acremant's father.

    Acremant has said in jailhouse interviews he hopes to be executed for the Dec. 4 slayings of Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill, but prosecutors want to talk to the victims' families before deciding whether to seek the death penalty.

    Ellis and Abdill, partners in a property-management firm, disappeared after Ellis showed Acremant an apartment for rent. Their disappearance immediately raised concerns that they were targeted because they had been outspoken opponents of statewide measures to limit gay rights.

    The women's bodies were found three days later in the back of Ellis' pickup. They had been bound with duct tape and shot twice in the head.

    Acremant has maintained that the women's sexual orientation had nothing to do with his decision to kill them after a scheme to rob checks from their business went awry.

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsour...0&slug=2158728

  4. #4
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    October 28, 1997

    Slayer Of 2 Lesbian Women Draws A Sentence Of Death

    MEDFORD, Ore. - Robert Acremant was sentenced to death yesterday for killing a lesbian couple in an attempt to obtain the money he needed to rekindle his relationship with a Las Vegas stripper.

    Jackson County Circuit Court jurors deliberated about four hours before unanimously sentencing Acremant to death by lethal injection.

    The prosecution painted Acremant as an evil and greedy man who assembled guns, disguises and how-to books in a black duffel bag and was ready to keep on killing as long as he needed money.

    "His little death kit was all set up and ready to go," prosecutor John Bondurant said, showing jurors the .25-caliber automatic pistol and homemade silencer Acremant used to kill Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill in December 1995.

    Invoking the image of Acremant's mother sobbing uncontrollably on the witness stand, defense attorney Mark Rader urged the jury to sentence him to life in prison without parole so he could finish the process of redemption that he has begun.

    "We want you to stop the killing," Rader said. "Is Mr. Acremant so far beyond redemption that he has to be eliminated from the human community? I think not."

    Acremant, 29, a former efficiency expert with a Los Angeles trucking company, pleaded guilty last year to aggravated murder, kidnapping and robbery in the killings of Ellis, 53, and Abdill, 42.

    According to testimony, Acremant lured the women to a duplex apartment and tried to force them to write him $50,000 in checks from their property management business. When that plan fell apart, he bound and gagged them with duct tape in the back of a pickup and shot each twice in the head.

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsour...8&slug=2568879

  5. #5
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    March 18, 2005

    Death sentence upheld for lesbian couple’s killer

    SALEM, — The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the murder convictions and death sentence of Robert Acremant, who admitted killing a lesbian couple in 1995 for money prosecutors say he wanted to use to rekindle a relationship with a Las Vegas stripper.

    Acremant pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, kidnapping and robbery in the Dec. 4, 1995, slayings of Roxanne Ellis, 53, and Michelle Abdill, 42, after they refused to give him money from their property management business.

    Prosecutors said Acremant killed the women in a desperate attempt to rob them of money he wanted to spend on a stripper whom he called his girlfriend.

    Acremant made conflicting statements about why he killed the women. He told police at one point that, while he did not like lesbians, he killed the women for money.

    The murders alarmed the gay community because Ellis and Abdill had worked on the campaign that defeated a statewide measure to limit the rights of homosexuals.

    Acremant lured the women to a Medford duplex apartment, where he tied and gagged them with duct tape. He shot them twice in the head after forcing them to lie in the back of a pickup truck, which was discovered with the bodies in a Medford parking lot three days later.

    Acremant also was convicted of murder in California for the 1995 slaying of Scott George of Visalia, the son of a friend of Acremant’s mother.

    The Oregon Supreme Court rejected various claims by Acremant in the appeal, including that he should be granted a new sentencing trial because a court reporter accidentally erased 90 minutes of the tape of his trial. He claimed that made an insufficient record for the appeal.

    The Supreme Court said the erased part of the tape accounted for only a very short part of the trial and that the lower court was able to reconstruct much of the missing record from affidavits and other materials.

    Acremant "fails to make a persuasive argument that the missing transcript will prevent review by this court of any error or miscarriage of justice," the Supreme Court said.

    Death sentences by law are automatically reviewed by the Supreme Court.

    Acremant left his $50,000-a-year job with a trucking company to start his own software business, which failed, according to evidence in the case. Prosecutors said his downfall began with his interest in the stripper.

    Managers at the Rodeway Express trucking company testified they were impressed with Acremant, who became a district operations manager working on efficiency improvements.

    Alla Kosova, the Las Vegas stripper whom Acremant said was his girlfriend, testified that their relationship was based only on money.

    She said he spent about $3,000 a weekend on her at the strip joint, gave her diamond earrings and took her out to an occasional movie or dinner but that they never had sex.

    Acremant wrote a letter to his hometown newspaper, The Record of Stockton, Calif., several weeks before he pleaded guilty to the murders, saying that he killed the women out of hate for homosexuals.

    He said he invented the robbery motive because he was nervous about how other jail inmates would react "in that, they were hate crimes against bi- and homosexuals.

    "Now I just don’t care what people think, including the jury," the letter said. "They can kill me for all I care. I’ve never liked life anyway."

    A prosecutor said he believed Acremant was "grandstanding" and "publicity hungry."

    http://archive.mailtribune.com/archi...es/12local.htm

  6. #6
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    Deal takes Acremant off death row, for now

    A California man's death sentence for the 1995 slaying of a lesbian couple in Medford was reduced to life in prison Thursday because he was diagnosed as mentally delusional and unable to aid in his own appeals, authorities said.

    Robert James Acremant, who has complained for years that he hears voices and says he has a transmitter in his head so others can control him, will remain in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder, kidnapping and robbery of Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill.

    Federal law bans the executions of inmates who are not sufficiently mentally competent, and a federal appeals court ruling directs states to back off proceeding with death sentences of inmates not deemed mentally competent.

    Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston and Acremant's defense team filed a judgment Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court that commuted Acremant's sentencing.

    However, the agreement allows the county to seek reinstatement of the death sentence should new evidence show that Acremant feigned mental illness to skirt execution.

    Prison psychiatrists have diagnosed him as mentally ill since 2003, according to Huddleston.

    Huddleston said that while he and state Department of Justice attorneys suspected that Acremant may be feigning or exaggerating some mental-illness symptoms, they were unable to conclude he was pulling a fast one on several mental health professionals.

    "I don't know, honestly," Huddleston said. "But if he's faking it, he's doing a good job.

    "I'm, obviously, suspicious," Huddleston said. "But, in looking at all the evidence in the case, we clearly couldn't rebut the evidence that he was, in fact, suffering from a mental illness."

    But even Thursday's events might not keep Acremant from the gallows.

    Huddleston said Acremant likely will be shipped to California, where he was sentenced to death for the 1995 slaying of Scott George of Visalia, the son of a friend of Acremant's mother.

    That case was unaffected by Thursday's court filing.

    Acremant's lead attorney, Noel Grefenson of Salem, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

    Thursday's ruling concludes Acremant's 2005 appeal of his death-penalty sentence handed down by a jury in 1997. In 2008, Acremant's attorneys filed a motion to halt the appeal because of his mental illness and inability to assist his attorneys in that appeal.

    A review of corrections documents show, as early as 2002, Acremant expressed delusional beliefs that he and most people at the Oregon State Penitentiary were "operations" or "ops" controlled by others, Huddleston said. Mental health records are confidential and not subject to open-records laws.

    He also told fellow prisoners, corrections officers and others that he had a transmitter in his head so others could communicate with and control him, according to Huddleston.

    Doctors hired by Acremant's defense team reviewed Acremant's records and concluded he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, Huddleston said. Corrections psychiatrists diagnosed him similarly.

    Two mental health professionals hired by prosecutors reviewed the same records and concluded that Acremant very well could be suffering from a mental disease or defect, and there was insufficient evidence to show he was not.

    Medford police Deputy Chief Tim George, who helped investigate the Abdill-Ellis murders, said he believes commuting Acremant's sentence to life without parole was probably the right thing to do, considering the legal issues.

    "But I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't disappointed," George said. "Capital punishment should be reserved for those special few, and Bob Acremant is one of those special few. He's the reason there is such a statute."

    Acremant pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and other charges in September 1996.

    He lured Ellis, 53, and Abdill, 42, on Dec. 4, 1995, to a northeast Medford duplex apartment, where he tied and gagged them with duct tape. He shot them each twice in the head after forcing them to lie in the back of a pickup truck, which was discovered with the bodies in a nearby parking lot three days later.

    Prosecutors at the time said Acremant killed the women in a desperate attempt to rob them of money he wanted to spend on a stripper whom he called his girlfriend.

    Acremant made conflicting statements about why he killed the women. He told police at one point that, while he did not like lesbians, he killed the women for money.

    The murders alarmed the gay community because Ellis and Abdill had worked on the campaign that defeated a statewide measure to limit the rights of homosexuals.

    Acremant remained Thursday as one of 36 death-row inmates at the Oregon State Penitentiary, where state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jennifer Black said officials were unaware of Thursday's court filing.

    http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs...NEWS/102180326

  7. #7
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    Local reaction to Acremant's Sentencing

    An Oregon killer’s death sentence is changed after he was found mentally unstable.

    Robert Acremant was convicted for the murder of two Medford women and a California man. Since his sentencing, Acremant complained to doctors he hears voices and says a transmitter was put in his head that others can control him with. Acrement was diagnosed as delusional and unable to aid in his own appeals. The courts changed his sentencing to life in prison.

    Acremant shot and killed Roxanna Ellis and Michelle Abdill in December of 1995 in their Medford apartment after an argument over a property management business. Acremant told police he didn't know the 2 women were homosexual but when he found out, he claimed it was a lot easier to kill them. During the investigation, Acremant also admitted to another slaying he committed back in California. The victim was Scott George, a former acquaintance he planned to rob back in 1995.

    Medford Police Deputy Chief Tim George worked close on the case and says Acremant’s stranger to stranger homicide changed the face of Medford.

    “Capital Punishment should be reserved for a special few and Bob Acremant was one of those special few who deserves it."

    Acremant was the 1st person in Jackson County to receive the death penalty since capital punishment was restored in the state.

    (source: KTVL News)

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