Man convicted in throat-slitting of drug dealer

EUGENE — A Lane County Circuit Court jury has convicted Shawn Monro of attempted aggravated murder in the throat-slitting of a drug dealer during a 2006 home invasion robbery.

The victim, Eugene Miller-Pomlee, survived the attack to testify at Monro's trial, telling jurors, "I thought it was all over."

In all, jurors convicted Monro on Thursday of 18 felony counts including assault, robbery and burglary. The charges stemmed from a series of robberies in addition to the attack on Miller-Pomlee.

Deputy District Attorney David Schwartz alleged that Monro teamed with two other men — Michael Vaughan and Noah Thacker — to torture and assault Miller-Pomlee because they wrongly assumed he had lots of cash.

Vaughan is in prison after pleading guilty to the Oct. 31, 2006, throat-slashing and for murdering Thacker the next day. Thacker reportedly became so agitated upon learning the dealer survived that Vaughan shot him in the back of the head, to prevent him from implicating the others.

Miller-Pomlee has been convicted in federal court of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Monro stood stoic Thursday until Judge Jack Billings read the attempted murder convictions, then briefly closed his eyes and tipped his face toward the ceiling. He later turned and stared toward the victim, who returned to the courtroom for the verdict. The man did not meet Monro's gaze.

The seven-man, five-woman jury also acquitted Monro of 16 additional felony counts in the complex case, which involved members of multiple gangs interacting in a crime spree.

Defense lawyer Nicolas Ortiz had told jurors that police and prosecutors developed a flawed theory of the case based on false information from witnesses trying to deflect blame for their role in the crimes or to win more lenient sentences in other cases.

Schwartz reminded jurors of testimony against Monro from witnesses who told police about the crimes without any promises of leniency for their own roles.

In an interview Thursday afternoon, Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner called the case one of the most complicated of his career. He noted it arose from the convergence of two separate violent crime investigations: the throat-slitting attack on the drug dealer, and the gang-related murder of Thacker the next day.

Gardner praised Eugene police for untangling the cases, leading to prison sentences for several other people as well.

The violent crimes unit did a particularly good job, the district attorney said. Led by Sgt. Kathy Flynn and lead detective Dan Braziel, the investigators spent more than three years and traveled as far away as Texas and Alaska to find witnesses and evidence.

"It was expensive," Gardner said, "But the community safety 'bang for the buck' is enormous, because we've sent to prison a bunch of incredibly dangerous people."

Sentencing for Monro, 28, is set for Tuesday.


Information from: The Register-Guard,

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