Judge says evidence shows Medford man murdered his family

A Medford man accused of killing his wife and children in the largest multiple homicide in Jackson County's recent history admitted that the prosecution could prove parts of its case against him.

Jordan Adam Criado, 52, entered an Alford plea in Jackson County Circuit Court this afternoon on five counts of aggravated murder and one of first-degree arson. In an Alford plea, the defendant doesn't admit to the crime, but admits that the prosecution could prove the charge.

Criado, 52, was charged with 24 counts of aggravated murder and four counts each of murder, first-degree manslaughter and first-degree arson. He is accused of killing his 30-year-old wife, Tabasha Paige-Criado, and children Elijah, 7; Isaac, 6; Andrew, 5; and Aurora, 2; and lighting multiple fires in their Medford home on July 18, 2011.

Crying and pounding his chest in Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia's courtroom, Criado loudly and repeatedly denied killing his children.

"These are my babies," he shouted. "I did not kill my babies.

"I killed my wife because she killed my babies."

Criado, who looked disheveled in court with a grizzled beard and shaggy black hair, was the sole suspect in the murders.

Paige-Criado died of stab wounds to the neck and abdomen, according to autopsy results. Sons Andrew, 5, and Isaac, 6, died of stab wounds to the neck and carbon-monoxide poisoning from the arson. Elijah, 7, and Aurora, 2, died from carbon-monoxide poisoning, toxicology tests determined.

Mejia said the evidence is overwhelming that Criado committed the crimes.

"I know I have killed (Tabasha) and I am sorry for that," Criado said before breaking down and denying that he killed the children.

The first four counts of aggravated murder in the case relate to the murder of the Criado children, who were all under the age of 14, an aggravating factor under Oregon murder statutes. The next 20 counts relate to combinations of multiple victims, another aggravating factor. The four counts each of murder, first-degree manslaughter and arson all relate to the children and the manner in which they died, said Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert. (Correction: Heckert's title has been fixed in this story.)

Prior to the plea agreement, the death penalty was an option for the jury to consider, Heckert said, after Criado's trial had been continued from Feb. 12 to June 18 at the request of his defense attorneys.

He is now scheduled to be sentenced at 1 p.m. April 15.

— Sanne Specht

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