Medic call turns to murder investigation in SE Portland

Find out why Mt. Scott-Arleta neighbors can breathe easier, knowing that the murderous actions of a knifeman was not a random act …

When a call for medical assistance uncovered an alleged fatal stabbing, police blocked off a wide crime scene on SE 60th Avenue south of SE Raymond Street, to assure evidence is preserved.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When someone called 9-1-1 and asked for urgent medical help at about 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19 – dispatchers describe it a “person-down call” – to a modest Mt. Scott-Arleta home at 5103 SE 60th Avenue, they also sent Portland Police Bureau PPB East Precinct officers.

What officers found wasn’t a medical emergency – but instead a man who appeared to have died of homicidal violence. PPB homicide detectives and criminalists from the Forensic Evidence Division came to the scene and began investigating the demise of the victim.

With the Portland Police Bureau’s Mobile Precinct parked just south of the crime scene, to be used as an office, detectives and criminalists compare notes as they gather evidence.

Random attack quickly ruled out
Later that day, detectives put out word that they were looking for a white Toyota Tundra pickup truck, taken from the home sometime after the victim died.

“Detectives continued to investigate this homicide throughout the night,” said PPB spokesperson, Lt. Kelli Sheffer. “They don’t believe this was a random attack.”

Late that same evening, the truck was apparently recovered relatively near the crime scene – on SE 72nd Avenue, we have learned.

The next day, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office completed their autopsy of the victim, identified as 63-year-old Dennis E. Weinberger. “Mr. Weinberger’s death was caused by multiple stab wounds,” reported Sheffer. She again emphasized that detectives believed the attack wasn’t random, and that the public was not at risk.

PPB Officers wait while detectives work on the crime scene.

“Detectives learned the suspect had been acting irrationally prior to his attack on Weinberger and they obtained a murder warrant for his arrest,” explained Sheffer.

Based upon information they uncovered, law enforcement from several agencies started a manhunt for their prime suspect. It didn’t take them long to nab their man; before the sun set on the following day, police arrested the suspected knifeman.

This man, 26-year-old Samuel Charles Leisure, stands accused of stabbing a Southeast Portland man to death.

“26-year-old Samuel Leisure was taken into custody this evening,” Sheffer said. “At  approximately 5:30 p.m., Portland Police Detectives, with the help of the United States Marshals and Gresham Police, conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in which Mr. Leisure was the passenger.”

When they pulled over the suspect vehicle in Gresham, on NE 183rd Avenue at NE Barr Road, the driver exited without incident, said Sheffer. Mr. Leisure, who had been a passenger in the car, eventually exited the vehicle, but it wasn’t until after officers made multiple demands that he get out of the car.

“Leisure was known to the deceased, Dennis Weinberger,” Sheffer added, “and frequented his SE 60th Avenue residence.” According to some reports, Leisure is the son of a close acquaintance of the deceased man.

Multnomah County Department of Corrections records show that Samuel Charles Leisure is being held on a charge of murder, a Class A Felony, in the downtown Portland Justice Center facility.

According to public records, Leisure is known to law enforcement officials, having been convicted of various criminal charges over the last five years.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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