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Murder trial gets started in Oregon

By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

The trial of a man charged with murdering an elderly Brookings resident began in Oregon this week.

Gregory Allen Bowen, 43, is charged with the murder of Don Palmer Christiansen, 76, of Curry County. Christiansen was found dead from gunshot wounds on Dec. 30, 2001.

Also charged in connection to the murder is Raymond Michael Colby, 40, of Crescent City. Colby has yet to stand trial.

A day before Christiansen was found dead from gunshot wounds on on Gardner Ridge Road, Bowen was named as the assailant in an assault on a Brookings woman. Although it is unclear if Colby was present during that incident, both men were accused of taking part in an armed robbery in the home of a Crescent City man a few days before Christiansen's murder.

According to the Curry Coastal Pilot, Bowen is charged with aggravated murder with intent to kill committed during first-degree burglary, aggravated murder with intent to take a life committed during the course of a theft, murder with intent of causing the death of Don Palmer Christiansen with a firearm, and four counts of first-degree theft involving three guns and other possessions owned by the victim.

Bowen pleaded guilty March 17, to attempted murder, assault in the second degree, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of coercion, first-degree theft, two counts of assault in the fourth degree, and two counts of menacing in a trial involving victim Bridget Dalton, who is an important witness in the murder trial.

In his opening statements, prosecutors said Bowen went to the home of Christiansen, driven by Colby, where, without provocation, he shot the victim, took his guns and a telephone and left him bleeding on the floor. Bowen's attorney told the jury his client had been mischarged.

Bowen was apprehended on Jan. 3, 2002, in the Cave Junction, Ore., area. Colby was arrested in Crescent City.

Pilot Staff Writer Marge Woodfin contributed to this report.

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