Man with violent past accused in Mill Park murder

Documents show why many had been concerned that the man now charged with homicide in the Mill Park neighborhood might be a killer …

At this outer East Portland apartment complex, police begin investigating the death that they later called a homicide.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Officials aren’t saying when the slaying took place, but at 7:00 a.m. on July 2, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were called to the Misty Firs Apartments, on SE 122nd Avenue near Market Street.

Throughout the day, a northbound lane of SE 122nd Avenue was closed off; the PPB Mobile Precinct truck and support vehicles were lined up for the investigation, soon identified as a murder.

The PPB “Mobile Precinct”, parked in the street, serves as a command station, as Homicide Detectives continue their investigation nearby.

“Due to the nature of the circumstances, Homicide Detectives, Criminalists, and the Medical Examiner are responding to conduct an investigation into the death,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

What police had discovered was a deceased 48-year-old woman – and a “male resident” of the apartment, who Simpson later described as “the victim’s boyfriend”.

Police stand at the door of the apartment where a homicide investigation is taking place.

Residents of the apartment complex were interviewed, but the parking lot was shut down – no vehicles were permitted to arrive or leave while the day-long investigation was underway.

“I didn’t hear anything, and I was staying a couple of doors down,” mused Margo O’Connell, who said she stayed overnight with friends.

“All of the police coming in early this morning woke everyone up, and they started talking to us, asking if we saw or heard anything,” O’Connell told East Portland News, as she was leaving that afternoon.

In the apartment unit, and on the grounds, officers and detectives look for evidence.

Later that day, Simpson stated to the press, “The victim of this homicide has been identified as 48-year-old Cory Jonell Lumber. The Medical Examiner determined that she died of a single gunshot wound.”

This photo of Cory Jonell Lumber was taken where she worked, at Paulsen’s Pharmacy in the Hollywood district. Family-provided image

According to her obituary, Cory Jonell (Ruth) Lumber is survived by a son and daughter. Lumber graduated from Madison High School in 1985, and also attended Concordia University.

That evening, Homicide Division detectives booked 37-year-old Spencer Thomas Johnson into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 10:06 p.m. on charges of Murder (Domestic Violence), and Unlawful Use of a Weapon (Domestic Violence).

Police accuse 37-year-old Spencer Thomas Johnson of a domestic-violence-related murder.

After his arraignment on July 5 in Multnomah County Court, Johnson learned that the Unlawful Use of a Weapon (Domestic Violence) charge allows a $10,000 bail; however, he could not take advantage of it, because he was also remanded to custody at Multnomah County Inverness Jail without bail on one count of Murder (Domestic Violence).

Information came out that in October of 2015 police had been called to the residence of another former girlfriend of Johnson.

After drawing a gun, in the presence of police, Johnson was finally arrested and charged with two counts of interference with a police officer, attempted assault, and harassment. He pleaded guilty to one of the counts, and was given 18 months probation.

According to court documents in that case, about eight months ago the Multnomah County Prosecuting Attorney quoted the then-girlfriend as telling investigators, “She feels that he is eventually going to kill.”

Although incarcerated, Johnson is legally considered innocent until proven guilty in court.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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