HILLSBORO, Ore. (February 7, 2023) — On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, Billy Lee Oatney, age 60, was convicted of Murder in the First Degree for the 1996 death and sexual assault of Susi Larsen — for the second time. Chief Deputy District Attorney Bracken McKey and Sr. Deputy District Attorney Andrew Freeman prosecuted the case before Judge Beth Roberts. 

The victim, Susi Larsen, age 34, disappeared in August of 1996 after telling friends her plans to meet with Oatney, an acquaintance, about making jewelry for her wedding. Her body was found two weeks later near Champoeg State Park in Marion County.

Oatney was convicted for Larsen’s death in 1998 but was granted a new trial after the Oregon Court of Appeals determined Oatney’s attorney did not provide adequate representation at trial. The trial lasted three weeks.

Following the verdict, the jury listened to further evidence of Oatney’s history, including his prior conviction of Attempted Murder in the 1980’s, where he slit the throat and stabbed the chest of a service member while serving in the U.S. Navy. Oatney served 12 years and six months of the 22-year sentence for the Attempted Murder and was released from federal supervision just months before the murder of Susi Larsen.

The jury found that future efforts to rehabilitate Oatney would not be successful and prior sanctions have not deterred his conduct. Judge Beth Roberts used these findings to sentence Oatney to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Mr. Oatney is one of the most dangerous predators our office has prosecuted,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Bracken McKey. “Ensuring public safety and upholding justice for victims like Susi Larsen to the fullest extent is a top priority in Washington County — and our county is a safer place because of this conviction. Our hearts are with the family and friends of Miss Larsen who had to re-visit this tragic event decades later."

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to thank the Oregon State Police and the many parties involved since the 1996 investigation, including Oregon State Superintendent retiree Travis Hampton, Oregon State Police Detective retiree Eric Altman, Tualatin Police Captain retiree Brad King, Tualatin Police Detective retiree Kevin Winfield, Oregon State Chief Medical Examiner retiree Larry Lewman, Milwaukie Chief of Police Luke Strait and the many scientists, both active and retired, from the Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory.

Media contact information
Traci Muldoon
Public Information Officer
(971) 708-8219
February 07, 2023