A Lane County Circuit Court judge sentenced a Portland gang member to life in prison on Thursday for the murder of a Lane Community College student. The shooter’s wife was given six years.
In their victim statements to the judge, Alex Oyombe Gradin’s family spoke of his smile, his athleticism, and his desire to help those in need.
“I can only guess what Alex would want to say,” Sally Gradin, Alex’s mother said in her statement. “Maybe, I had dreams, maybe I love my family.”
Gradin was born in Nairobi, Kenya and was adopted by his family as a baby.
“I don’t know how this court views adoption, but Alex wasn’t an afterthought,” his mother said. She added his death had given her PTSD and she suffered from trauma.
Other family and friends of Gradin shared their grief as well, often through tears. They thanked law enforcement and the justice system, and said they were relieved the defendants' guilty pleas allowed them to avoid a lengthy trial. They also said they didn’t want to become bitter and intend to forgive Regis Kindred and Kailee Von Foster.
On May 4 2019, Kindred shot and killed Gradin behind Taylor’s Bar and Grill, near the University of Oregon. Kindred and his wife, Kailee Von Foster, the driver, had been tailing a vehicle they thought belonged to a rival gang member, before mistakenly targeting Gradin.
“I realized there was nothing in the world I could possibly say,” Von Foster said after she revealed she recently gave birth to a son. She added she regretted her involvement and hoped the family could forgive her someday.
Von Foster, who previously pled guilty to Manslaughter in the Second Degree, was sentenced by presiding Judge Debra Vogt to 75 months with parole.
Kindred, who pled guilty to Murder in the Second Degree last week, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Detective Jed McGuire, with the Eugene Police Department, said it’s unlikely Kindred will ever be released given his criminal history.
“At the time of this case, Regis was on parole in Multnomah Count, and he had previously committed violent crimes involving firearms…I can see why a parole board would hesitate to release him,” McGuire said. He thanked EPD for their efforts in solving the months long case.
Copyright KLCC 2020