written for The Argus Observer, published on March 17,2015
Gregory Escobedo, Jr., 21, from Ontario was sentenced to 75 months in prison with no option for parole or early release today for the death of his father, Gregory Escobedo Sr., 39, from Ontario.
He also received 36 months of post prison supervision, which means once he gets out of prison, he’ll have to follow certain guidelines for that period of time. Judge Lung Hung presided over the sentencing and he added a domestic violence treatment evaluation and a drug and alcohol evaluation as a condition of the post prison supervision.
“This can be summed up in two words: domestic violence,” said Malheur County deputy district attorney, Erin Landis. “It is certainly not an excuse in any way, but the D.A. does take into account the full picture.”
Escobedo pled guilty to manslaughter in the second degree in February as a result of a judicial settlement conference with Malheur County Circuit Court Judge Sullivan and Landis.
The plea came six months after Ontario police responded to an assault outside an apartment complex at 555 N.W. Ninth St. the evening of Monday, June 16. Escobedo Sr. had multiple stab wounds to his upper body and was taken to St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario, where he was pronounced dead.
Escobedo had been at the apartment for his 21st birthday party and had brought his 3 year old son with him for the occasion. The party “turned into a disaster,” according to defense attorney Brenden Alexander.
“There was a parenting issue and Sr. began beating up Jr. again,” said Alexander. “From the age of six or seven [Escobedo’s] father beat him. This has been collaborated by several family members who witnessed the aftermath.”
Escobedo pulled out a knife and slashed is father’s upper torso, clipping the aorta, according to Alexander.
“He could have walked away, but he’d just been beaten again and this time he didn’t walk away,” Alexander explained. “He wants to break the cycle and be a good father to his child.”
Two days after his father’s stabbing, Escobedo turned himself into the Ontario Police Department and he was booked into the Malheur County Jail on charges of murder and for violation of parole.
Manslaughter is a Measure 11 sentence, an initiative passed by Oregon voters in 1994. This measure provides a minimum sentence for certain crimes against people. These sentences cannot be reduced for good behavior, according to Oregon law. The mandatory minimum for manslaughter is 75 months in prison with no option for early release.
A murder plea would have landed Escobedo a minimum of 300 months in jail.
“You’re not going to break the cycle on your own,” said Hung. “You can still take advantage of the time you’re in and not just sit there. You can get help.”