HILLSBORO, Ore.- The following is a statement from District Attorney Kevin Barton regarding the impact of Senate Bill 1013 on the State v Jeremiah Johnston case and future Washington County cases:

I am hopeful that the resolution of this case brings some amount of closure to the family of Sara Zghoul. 

Jeremiah Johnston committed a horrific and brutal murder of a young Washington County mother and his continued refusal to provide her family with the location of the rest of her body speaks to his level of depravity and his lack of remorse.

While the knowledge that her killer will never be free may provide some finality for Sara’s family, the ongoing flaws in Oregon’s new murder laws provide no such finality for the families of other crime victims or our community as a whole. 

The decision to weaken Oregon’s murder laws by replacing them with poorly drafted substitutes that apply retroactively directly hampers our ability to prosecute murders.  While the rushed passage and enactment of SB 1013 was an end-run around the express will of Oregon’s voters and extraordinarily disappointing, the refusal to convene a special legislative session to fix the known problems created by SB 1013 is entirely inexcusable.  Crime victims, their families and our communities deserve a system that prioritizes the safety of Oregonians over the goals of special interest groups.

Looking forward, I am hopeful the legislature will not rush future changes to our criminal laws without full consideration and will work with prosecutors to fix the problems in SB 1013.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
971-708-8219

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On December 4, 2019, Jeremiah Ward Johnston pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree abuse of a corpse and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of a witness. He was sentenced to life with a minimum of 65 years in prison by Washington County Judge Ricardo Menchaca. Senior Deputy District Attorney John Gerhard and Deputy District Attorney Chris Lewman prosecuted Mr. Johnston. Mr. Johnston will be more than 100 years old before he becomes eligible for parole consideration.

On January 19, 2018, Mr. Johnston picked up Sara Zghoul from a hotel located in Beaverton, Oregon. Mr. Johnston then took the victim to his parent’s house in an unincorporated area of Washington County, Oregon near Cooper Mountain.

Mr. Johnston was upset with the victim due to what he perceived as an unpaid drug debt. Mr. Johnston then attempted to use Ms. Zghoul to lure another drug dealer to the home with the intent to rob that drug dealer. He bound the victim with duct tape, but eventually released her from the restraints. Ms. Zghoul attempted to flee the home, but Mr. Johnston caught her at the top of a staircase and pushed her down a flight of stairs. Ms. Zghoul struck her head on a wall at the bottom of the stairs, likely resulting in a head injury. Mr. Johnston decided at that moment that he would kill Ms. Zghoul.

Mr. Johnston murdered Ms. Zghoul and dismembered her body.

The defendant then contacted his friend who owned a fishing boat and told him about the murder. That acquaintance then reported to police what he had learned from Mr. Johnston, and police quickly located Mr. Johnston’s vehicle. Mr. Johnston fled from police and unsuccessfully attempted suicide before he was arrested.

While in custody at the Washington County Jail, Mr. Johnston befriended an inmate and told him graphic details about murdering and dismembering Ms. Zghoul. He then offered the inmate $50,000 to kill the friend who made the first report to police. Investigators uncovered the plot before it could be enacted.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge the Washington County Major Crimes Team, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Detective Brad Verboort for their work on this case.

A restitution hearing is scheduled for February 3, 2020.

Mr. Johnston will be transferred to the Oregon Department of Corrections to begin serving his sentence.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
971-708-8219

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On November 19, 2019, a Washington County jury found Seven Stars, formerly known as Lorenzo Eric Gonzalez, guilty of second-degree sodomy. Deputy District Attorney Rayney Meisel prosecuted Mr. Stars in Judge Ricardo Menchaca’s courtroom.

The investigation began in December of 2017 when a young woman called the Medford Police Department to report a case of online harassment. She told investigators that Mr. Stars was harassing her via a social media messaging service.

The victim told investigators that Mr. Stars sexually assaulted her in a park in Washington County, Oregon before she moved to Medford, Oregon. She told investigators that she had not seen the defendant, who went by the name Seven Stars, since that time. The victim did not know the defendant by any other name. The messages included lewd photos and videos of the defendant as well as taunts regarding the sexual assault. The victim repeatedly told the defendant to stop contacting her.

The case was referred to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and was investigated by Detective John Shipley.

Detectives scoured the defendant’s various social media accounts in an effort to identify him. They eventually used information posted to these accounts as well as law enforcement data bases to identify the suspect as Lorenzo Eric Gonzalez and arrested him.

The defendant denied the allegations against him, claiming, among other things, that he was not Seven Stars. This defense fell short, however, when DDA Meisel showed the jury the name-change petition Mr. Stars filed, while awaiting trial, to legally change his name from Lorenzo Eric Gonzalez to Seven Stars.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge the work of the Medford Police Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office on this case. This office also commends the victim for reporting the abuse.

A sentencing hearing for Mr. Stars is set for December 11, 2019. He will remain in custody until that time.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
971-708-8219

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On November 21, 2019, a Washington County jury found Brandon Wesley Eugene Treat guilty of fourth-degree assault. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail by Judge Eric Butterfield. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Sara Loebner.

On June 6, 2019, Washington County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to an apartment complex in Aloha, Oregon on a report of a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, they spoke to the female victim who reported she was involved in a physical altercation with Mr. Treat.

The victim told deputies that she and the defendant were in a verbal argument and that she locked herself in a bathroom. Mr. Treat then smashed through the door and entered the bathroom. He then tackled her into the bathtub and remained on top of her while he grabbed her neck and throat with his hands and pressed his elbow into her chest. When deputies arrived, they noted several injuries to the victim’s head, neck and arms.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge the Washington County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Family Justice Center of Washington County for their work on this case and assistance given to the victim.

In May of 2019, this office formed the Domestic Violence Unit. A team of six prosecutors are now working exclusively on cases involving domestic violence. This new unit has helped this office increase the amount of domestic violence-related cases filed, leading to more prosecutions and victims protected.

In addition to his jail sentence, Mr. Treat will also be subject to two years of supervised probation upon his release.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
971-708-8219

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On November 21, 2019, a Washington County jury found Jason Jeremiah Patton guilty of two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of second-degree robbery. Deputy District Attorney William Stabler prosecuted Mr. Patton in Judge Oscar Garcia’s courtroom.

On October 28, 2018, Mr. Patton and his accomplice, Robert David Duke, committed an armed robbery at a Beaverton consignment shop. Mr. Duke held a female employee at gunpoint while they stole cash and jewelry. That jewelry had an estimated retail value of $250,000. The employee was not physically hurt during the robbery.

The two then fled the scene on foot. Mr. Patton ran into a nearby mobile home park where he forcibly stole an elderly woman’s vehicle. That attack left the woman with a broken arm. Mr. Patton then fled the scene in the stolen vehicle, which was later recovered in Portland, Oregon.

Mr. Duke was apprehended within just a few hours, but Mr. Patton was able to escape the area. He was able to elude authorities for several months until he was apprehended in Florida.

On January 16, 2019, Mr. Duke was sentenced to 90 months in prison for his role in the crime.

A sentencing hearing for Mr. Patton is set for December 5, 2019 at 8:45 a.m. in Judge Garcia’s courtroom.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge the work of the Beaverton Police Department on this case. Officer Loren Andler and his training recruit at the time, Daniela Pamfilie, were instrumental in locating Mr. Duke in the hours after the robbery. Detectives Chad Opitz and Patrick McNair also played a pivotal role investigating the case. They secured evidence important to the eventual prosecution of both men.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
971-708-8219

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On November 14, 2019, 18-year-old Dylan James Gregory pleaded guilty to first-degree disorderly conduct, harassment and two counts of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Judge Ted Sims sentenced Mr. Gregory to two years of probation. Deputy District Attorney Tyler Bissett and Deputy District Attorney Mark Richman prosecuted the two separate cases against Mr. Gregory.

On September 4, 2019, Mr. Gregory posted a picture of himself to his social media account. The picture depicted the defendant holding a handgun featuring the caption, “Who ready for school.” Mr. Gregory was enrolled to start his first day at Mountainside High School that day.

Beaverton Police spotted the concerning photo. Officers quickly requested and obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s home and found ammunition but were unable to locate the handgun featured in the photo.

While this case was pending, Mr. Gregory was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies for a traffic violation. Deputies reported the vehicle smelled of marijuana and later found a pipe containing methamphetamine residue hidden in the defendant’s clothing. Mr. Gregory refused to give his name or date of birth to deputies and was arrested at the scene.

Less than a week later, Beaverton Police responded to an apartment complex on a report of a loud disturbance. Mr. Gregory was arrested after officers determined he tried to instigate a fight and pushed another individual at the scene. While he was being processed at the Washington County Jail, deputies found a small bag containing methamphetamine.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge Beaverton Police for flagging the concerning photo and working quickly to address the possible threat. This office also commends school staff for their diligence in addressing the matter swiftly.

“We can never be too careful when it comes to student safety,” DDA Bissett said of the concerning social media post. “We applaud Beaverton Police and school staff for acting so quickly to safeguard the students of Mountainside High School.”

In addition to probation, Judge Sims also ordered Mr. Gregory to undergo drug and mental health treatment.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
971-708-8219

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HILLSBORO, Ore.- The following is a statement from District Attorney Kevin Barton regarding the impact of Senate Bill 1013 on the State v Jeremiah Johnston case and future Washington County cases: I am...
HILLSBORO, Ore.- On December 4, 2019, Jeremiah Ward Johnston pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree abuse of a corpse and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder...
HILLSBORO, Ore.- On November 19, 2019, a Washington County jury found Seven Stars, formerly known as Lorenzo Eric Gonzalez, guilty of second-degree sodomy. Deputy District Attorney Rayney Meisel...
HILLSBORO, Ore.- On November 21, 2019, a Washington County jury found Brandon Wesley Eugene Treat guilty of fourth-degree assault. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail by Judge Eric Butterfield. The...
HILLSBORO, Ore.- On November 21, 2019, a Washington County jury found Jason Jeremiah Patton guilty of two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of second-degree robbery. Deputy District Attorney...
HILLSBORO, Ore.- On November 14, 2019, 18-year-old Dylan James Gregory pleaded guilty to first-degree disorderly conduct, harassment and two counts of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Judge Ted...
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