MADRAS, Ore. - A Madras man who was due to go on trial Monday on murder by abuse and other charges for his role in a 1-year-old girl's death last year instead entered conditional guilty pleas and was sentenced to five years of supervised probation, Jefferson County District Attorney Steven Leriche announced.
Here's the full text of a news release issued by Leriche on the outcome of the case:
Garry Lee Vineyard II, 21 of Madras, entered Alford pleas of guilty Monday to charges of criminally negligent homicide and two counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment in connection with his involvement in the death of Katerina Austria, 1, and mistreatment of Nyx Austria age 2 at the date of the crimes. All remaining charges against Vineyard were dismissed.
Raine Austria (a.k.a. Raine Vineyard) was previously allowed to enter guilty pleas to two felony counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment involving her children on June 15, after she passed a polygraph with regard to whether she caused the death of Katerina Austria.
(Raine Austria, was sentenced in June to serve 180 days in jail and three years probation; at the time, she had already served 171 days.)
The case developed after Katerina Austria was found dead in her bedroom some time during the morning of March 30, 2015.
A thermostat in the room was set at over 80 degrees; the room temperature interfered with the ability to determine the time of her death.
Subsequent investigation revealed that after the body was discovered, Garry Vineyard spent time cleaning Katerina Austria’s room before contacting his mother to come to the residence. No calls to 9-1-1 were placed until after Vineyard’s mother arrived at the scene. 911 was called at approximately 11:50 A.M. According to Garry Vineyard, he was the last to see Katerina alive around 1 A.M., and nobody checked on the child until she was discovered dead.
Katerina Austria had numerous bruises to her head and face in varying stages of healing at the time of her death. None of the injuries on Katerina Austria’s body were determined to be fatal injuries and no cause of death was identifiable at autopsy, though the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s pathologist Dr. Christopher Young noted that homicide could not be ruled out as a cause of death.
Two experts consulted by the State indicated that the circumstances of the death did not fit the criteria of a Sudden Unexplained Death of an Infant (SUDI). Formerly known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a diagnosis of SUDI cannot be made if there are any suspicious findings at the scene of the death or noted during the investigation.
Factors that arose during the investigation that ruled out Sudden Unexplained Death of an Infant included the delay in calling 9-1-1, untruthful statements made by Vineyard during his calls to 9-1-1, untruthful statements made by Vineyard to detectives during the investigation, attempts by Vineyard to subvert the polygraph that resulted in the discontinuation of the examination, the discovery that Vineyard was unsupervised with Katerina Austria at 1 a.m. the morning of her death, and the unusual number of bruises to the face and head of Katerina Austria.
The agreement was reached after the State became concerned about the case during trial preparation as Dr. Young emphasized his inability to testify to a cause of death in this case. His testimony would have conflicted with additional experts consulted by the State, including Dr. Sharon Cooper, a national authority on forensic pediatrics.
In light of the conflict between Dr. Young’s findings and the findings of the State’s other experts, the District Attorney’s Office concluded that Vineyard would not likely be convicted of the higher charges at trial and that resolution of the case was appropriate.
Under the terms of the agreement, Vineyard, who has no prior criminal history and has been incarcerated since December 28, 2015 will be placed on supervised probation for a period of five years.
During that period, Vineyard will be prohibited from having unsupervised contact with minors under the age of 10, including his own child. Vineyard will also undergo a mental health evaluation and any recommended treatment, including anger management.
Should Vineyard violate the terms of his probation, he will subject to 34-36 months of incarceration, which is approximately double the amount a person receives for criminal negligent homicide if they do not have any criminal history.
The terms of the resolution were satisfactory to the State in that Vineyard will be under a significant period of supervision, will not be able to have unsupervised contact with minors under 10, and will serve more time under this resolution if he violates his probation than he would receive if he been convicted of the same charges at trial.
The State was represented by Senior Deputy District Attorney Brentley Foster and Senior Deputy District Attorney Wade Whiting. Vineyard was represented by Dave Glenn and Tim Gassner. Judge Gary Williams presided over the case.
The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank the Madras Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon State Police, Dr. Deanna St. Germain, and Dr. Sharon Cooper for their extraordinary support in this case. Their efforts allowed Ms. Foster and Mr. Whiting to prosecute a very difficult case that most offices would avoid because of its complexity. Their relentless dedication to protection of children in Jefferson County is exceptional and praiseworthy.