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Mom tried to protect son before he was found dead with dad

08:00 AM PDT on Friday, March 21, 2008



WARRENTON - The mother of a St. Helens boy found dead this week had tried to protect her son from his dad, who police now believe is the person who killed him.

Police records show that Shannon Davis feared for her life and her son's, as her ex-husband grew increasingly violent and threatening.

On Jan. 17, Davis filed a restraining order with the court. In part, it said: "He [Rockland Stephens] is getting bolder and bolder with his actions. I feel like his behavior is escalating. He is a very unstable person."

That restraining order was granted on Jan. 18, yet a judge still gave Stephens limited "parenting time" rights on alternate weekends. Last weekend, Stephens picked up his son, 10-year-old Shane Davis, for a short camping trip but did not return when he was ordered to, so Shannon quickly alerted police.

District Attorney Steve Atchison said his office issued an arrest warrant for Stephens on Monday: "We acted as quickly as we could, but apparently it was too late."

Shane was found dead inside his dad's van at Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton Tuesday. His dad was also dead, at his side.

Investigators said it appeared that Stephens ran a hose from the exhaust pipe of his van into the cab where he want to sleep next to his son. Both were dead by the time park employees noticed something suspicious and called 9-1-1.

Fellow students, teachers devastated

The Lewis & Clark Elementary School, where Shane has attended classes since kindergarten, sent out a note to parents today, letting them know about his death and explaining the grief counseling available for students.

One of his former teachers also sent a note to the media, explaining what a special boy he was: "Shane was an absolutely delightful child who always had a smile on his face, was eager to learn and gave 110% of himself in the educational environment. His sense of humor, easy graceful relaxed personality and sweet disposition attracted many friends and stole the hearts of our instructional staff. Words cannot express how much this loss has impacted our community. He will be tremendously missed," the statement said.

School principal Kathy Carson said “it’s a time to reflect on the meaning of life and our family connections and just take time to process what we’re feeling and thinking through it all.” Meantime, Shane's classmates posted huge banners with words of sorrow in the school cafeteria Thursday.

A memorial service for Shane Davis was scheduled for Monday, March 24 at 1pm at United Methodist Church in St. Helens. A candlelight vigil was also planned for 7 p.m. Friday, at Lewis and Clark Elementary School.

District Attorney Josh Marquis said toxicology tests would be conducted but everything appeared to be consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning. He added that evidence found at the scene also pointed to murder-suicide even though there was not a suicide note.

Heated custody battle

A warrant had been issued on March 17 for charges of attempted custodial interference and comtempt of court in Columbia County after Stephens failed to return his son from the camping trip, which was a court-authorized weekend visit. The child's mother called Oregon State Police Sunday after her son did not return home.

Police said she had also filed for a restraining order back on January 17, citing concerns about Stephens' conduct. A judge issued a modified restraining order on Jan. 22, allowing Stephens to have limited weekend contact with his son.

She had filed a previous restraining order against him in 2000 and he was accused of stalking her, according to records in Columbia County.

Police records also showed other women had filed restraining orders against Stephens in the past as well



Sunday, January 21, 2007
Last modified Friday, January 19, 2007 1:04 PM PST



In Linn County Circuit Court Thursday, a 46-year-old Albany man was found not guilty of sex abuse after claiming the defense of “sexsomnia” — that he was asleep when the alleged crime occurred.

In closing arguments at the end of a two-day trial, Prosecutor Douglas Prince and Corvallis defense attorney Karen Zorn reviewed the case:

The man’s stepdaughter, then 10, had gotten into bed with the man and his wife. While in bed, the man was alleged to have in appropriately touched the girl.

The girl reported the incident to her mother and police were called. The man was arrested and later indicted on charges of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and first-degree sexual abuse. Both are Measure 11 crimes with prison sentences of 100 months for sexual penetration and 75 months for sexual abuse.

The defense claimed that if the man did make contact with his stepdaughter it was while he was asleep and he had no memory of it. It also said the man had in the past had sexual contact with his wife while sleeping.

An expert for the defense testified that the man had signs of parasomnia, a sleeping disorder in which a person does something while sleeping such as sleepwalk or have sex, known to some as “sexsomnia.”

While parasomnia is sometimes cited as a defense for crimes, sexsomnia is rarely used, said Circuit Court Judge John McCormick before he gave the verdict Thursday.

The judge said he believed the girl’s testimony but the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the man committed the crimes “knowingly.”

According to, an online information resource, a court in Toronto, Canada, in 2005 acquitted a man of sexual assault after he was diagnosed with sexsomnia. In a case in Britain that same year, a man was cleared of three counts of rape on the same grounds. In the trial this week, the Albany man was also charged with endangering the welfare of a minor for having sexual contact with his wife while the daughter was nearby. He was found guilty on that count.

Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 14. Endangering the welfare of a minor is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a possible fine of $5,000 and one year in prison.

The Democrat-Herald chose not to publish names involved in this case to protect the victim.


Woman, 84, Pleads to Attempted Sex Abuse

Friday , February 16, 2007

PORTLAND, Ore.  — 

An 84-year-old woman who confessed to having sex with an 11-year-old boy in her foster care reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted sex abuse, officials said.

Georgie Audean Buoy will serve 36 months in prison, said Leslie Wolf, chief deputy district attorney for Wasco County. She was originally charged with six counts, including attempted rape, for which she faced eight years in prison, Wolf said.

In a taped confession, Buoy admitted to having sex with the boy while he was in her care in 2004, Wolf said. Her age and lack of prior criminal convictions played a role in the plea deal.

Buoy's attorney, Andrew Carter, did not return messages Thursday.

Buoy, of The Dalles, was a longtime member of her church and volunteered at the county jail, Wolf said.

She must register as a sex offender after serving her sentence at a women's prison, and must pay $5,000 to the victim, as well as up to $7,500 in restitution for counseling.


Albany man accused of using stun gun on toddler

04:24 PM PST on Monday, February 5, 2007


An Albany man repeatedly used a stun gun on his toddler, according to police who arrested the 23-year-old father over the weekend.

The toddler’s mother reported the abuse. She brought her 18-month-old son to the Albany Police Department on Saturday and told investigators that her husband, Rian James Wittman used a stun-gun device on him over a three-week period.

Police said the child suffered injuries from the 100,000-volt stun-gun and he was taken to Samaritan Albany General Hospital for treatment.

The child was later taken into protective custody by the Department of Human Services.

Rian Wittman was arrested later that same night in the 1900 block of SE Hill Street without incident, police said. He was lodged in the Linn County Jail on assault and criminal mischief charges.




Gresham father arrested for assaulting baby by shaking

10:16 AM PDT on Monday, September 17, 2007

By KGW Staff

GRESHAM -- Police arrested a Gresham father accused of assaulting his six-week-old daughter by shaking her.

The infant’s parents took her to the hospital about a week ago. She was lethargic and wasn't eating.

Doctors suspect she suffers from Shaken Baby Syndrome. After they examined the child, police with Gresham's major crimes unit began interviewing family members.

Brandon Taylor Dinucci was arrested Friday on two counts of assault and one count of criminal mistreatment, said Sgt. Jeff Hansen with the Gresham Police Department.

“If the child continues on in this state, she won't be OK for the rest of her life. If the rest of her life ends, and they base that deemed on this injury, then the charges could be homicide as opposed to assault,” Hansen said.

Baby’s father is arrested for assault

Six-week-old girl better than expected after suffering from ‘shaken baby syndrome’

(news photo)

Brandon Taylor Dinucci

 A Gresham father is behind bars while his 6-week-old daughter recovers from symptoms of shaken baby syndrome.

Brandon Taylor Dinucci, 20, of Gresham faces charges of assault and mistreatment and is being held on $260,000 bail at the Justice Center Jail.

His baby daughter, meanwhile, is recovering at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, said a family spokesman who asked to remain anonymous.

When the baby’s parents took her to Oregon Health & Sciences University on Sunday, Sept. 9, the girl was lethargic and hadn’t eaten in one to two days, said Sgt. Jeff Hansen, a Gresham police spokesman. Such infrequent eating is extremely rare for newborns that eat far more frequently than adults.

Medical staffers said these, as well as other symptoms, were similar to those experienced by shaken babies.

Doctors originally predicted the baby would never breathe, eat, walk or talk on her own, said the family spokesman.

“She is doing much better than expected,” he said, adding that she is now breathing on her own. “The baby is amazing the doctors.”

The Portland Police Bureau-based Child Abuse Team responded to the hospital’s report of an injured child. Based on the team’s findings that the case originated in Gresham “and given the extreme potential for long-lasting injury or death,” Hansen said, it passed the case onto the East County Major Crimes Team to investigate.

After round-the-clock interviews of everyone who has access to the baby, police arrested the child’s father at about 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.

“The family is devastated,” Hansen said. “They were very, very cooperative with us and are trying to help us out.”

Detectives believe they have taken into custody the only individual responsible for the abuse and are no longer investigating any other relatives or possible suspects, Hansen said.

Hansen went on to describe the investigation as “very careful and thorough,” adding that detectives don’t charge someone with a crime unless they’re sure the suspect committed it.

Hansen also encourages overwhelmed parents or caregivers everywhere to not take such frustrations out on a baby or child.

“One moment or a fit of anger and you can damage not only the life of anyone you’re holding, but your own and everybody else who had contact or is going to have contact with the child,” Hansen said.

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