Former Oregon City veterinarian Steve Milner has been refused bail and will remain in the custody of the Washington County Jail until his trial for the murder of the spouse of a former employee.
The verdict was delivered by Circuit Judge Erik Buchér after a three-hour hearing during which a Hillsboro police detective presented the state’s case against Milner for the murder of Kenneth Fandrich, an Oregon City resident who worked for Intel on its campus in Hillsboro.
“It’s very, very strong,” Judge Buchér said. “It’s an easy ruling.” On the morning of the murder, someone spray-painted eight surveillance cameras in the garage. He wore a yellow hard hat and dark safety glasses. Prosecutors said he was operating a blue Buick car.
Fandrich’s Honda was parked next to a maroon minivan later that day. Paint covered the camera, but it looked like there was some interaction between the two cars not long after Fandrich left the office. The minivan left after thirty minutes.
Tanya reported Fandrich missing, and hours later, police discovered him dead in the driver’s seat of his car. His back and spine were both fractured. Both of Fandrich’s hands contained Milner’s DNA.
Tanya Fandrich, who said that Milner had been stalking her and her husband for years, was interviewed by police in Hillsboro. Kenneth Fandrich had sought two separate stalking orders to keep Milner at bay.
Kenneth Fandrich found out about Milner and Tanya Fandrich’s brief affair after Tanya had worked at Milner’s veterinary practice for two decades. After that, Fandrich’s widow claims, the veterinarian started pestering him.
Last year, as Milner followed Fandrich to work, police in Hillsboro pulled him stop. Milner informed the policeman then that he was afraid Fandrich would kill Tanya.
Fandrich told the police officer that he and his wife were having marital troubles but that Tanya had been arrested for domestic abuse. After warning Milner to “leave the Fandrichs alone or face jail time,” the officer lets him go.
Police suspected Milner after Fandrich’s killing, prosecutors claimed Wednesday. The police took possession of his vehicle and retrieved its GPS data. Prosecutors say it led them to a Home Depot in Oregon City, where surveillance footage of the parking lot revealed someone moving between three vehicles throughout the day.
The prosecution’s case hinges on those three cars. Evidence that Milner made test drives into the Intel parking garage from the Home Depot parking lot, where he could change vehicles and hide his traces, was shown to the court for about two hours today.
Here’s what you need to know right away about what’s been going on in Oregon:
- Sherwood High Hosts Epic Battle of the Oregon Girls Flag Football Teams.
- Recent Polling Indicates That Oregonians Are Negative About Measure 110.
- Protests at the Oregon State Capitol Demand Republicans Return.
The GPS data from Milner’s car revealed that two vehicles, a Dodge minivan, and a Buick sedan, had been abandoned in North Portland. A man who identified as Jerry Lee and called himself Milner reportedly bought a minivan from the previous owner.
At today’s hearing, the defense hoped to cast doubt on the state’s case by raising reasonable doubt. It was hinted that Tanya’s relationship with Milner had continued for a long time after the romance had ostensibly ended and that Fandrich had a history of domestic violence. Another man’s DNA was discovered in blood on Fandrich’s driving wheel, authorities said.
Attorney Amanda Thibeault claimed the crime scene was concealed in the surveillance footage. To quote an official: “We have no idea what was happening in that footage at the time.”