Four Oregon high school students have been charged with kidnapping and assault in connection with an attack on a fellow student that included carving a swastika on his forehead.
Dustyn Jae Murrain, 16, was attacked after school in Portland on Feb. 10, authorities say, and the four were arrested the same day. They remain in custody.
The three oldest were indicted as adults Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges including assault, kidnapping and weapons violations. Bail was set about $2.9 million each, according to online court records. The fourth, who is 14, was charged as a juvenile.
The Times identifies underage suspects only if they are charged as adults.
The three who face adult charges — Jenna Jean Montgomery, 15; Blue Christian Kalmbach, 15; and Jess Taylor, 17 — as well as the 14-year-old are accused of conspiring to lure Dustyn to a backyard shed, according to the indictment.
Court documents allege that when Dustyn walked into the shed with Jenna, Blue struck him in the back of the head with a crowbar, then shot him with a BB gun in the chest, groin and index finger. Finally, authorities say, Blue used a box-cutter to carve a swastika into Dustyn’s forehead.
The suspects then told Dustyn they wanted his skateboard and money and freed him to retrieve the items, according to a court document. He fled to a nearby business for help.
Police took the suspects into custody that afternoon.
During questioning, a prosecutor said in a court filing, Jenna told a detective that the group had devised the plan the night before and that she served as “bait.” Blue, the document said, admitted his role, adding that he fed cat feces to Dustyn. Jess said he helped formulate the “torture” plan and held a BB gun in the shed as a show of force, the document says.
All five teenagers were enrolled at Portland’s David Douglas High School, but most of the suspects had attendance problems, Principal John Bier told the Los Angeles Times. Two had “severe” truancy issues and the third was in the process of transferring to an alternative high school, he said.
He said none of the five had reported any bullying to the school.
“The case is quite shocking, and our students, faculty are appalled by this incident,” he said of the 2,900-student school. “This is not normal for us at all.”
Bier says the most pressing issue for the large and diverse campus is ensuring that students feel they are a part of it.
“To make sure kids feel like they belong there, the biggest thing you can do is have a connection between an adult in the building and a kid,” he said. “We continually work on developing programs like that.”
Jenna’s attorney, Ronnee Kliewer, and Blue’s attorney, Casey Kovacic, didn't respond to requests for comment. The office of Jess’ attorney, Liann Crane, said she declined to comment.
The victim's mother, Kelli Murrain, told KPTV that Dustyn had been traumatized physically and emotionally.
“It's something he's going to live with forever, especially if the scar — swastika — doesn't go away,” she said. “Every time he looks in the mirror he's going to have that memory.”
ALSO:Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times