‘Misty Firs Killer’ pleads guilty to manslaughter

UPDATE: Spencer Johnson receives a lengthy prison sentence for killing Cory Lumber in Mill Park …

-1 In July, 2016, Portland Police Homicide Division Detectives were called to these Mill Park apartments in outer East Portland to investigate a shooting death. East Portland News file photo

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A disagreement between a man and woman at the Misty Firs Apartments, 1538 SE 122nd Avenue, led to a shooting death that brought out the Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detectives and forensics experts on July 2, 2016.

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Although she’d only been in a relationship with 39-year-old Spencer Thomas Johnson, and lived with him, for about a month, Cory Jonell Lumber (then 48 years old) told her family she felt uneasy about her new boyfriend.

Late on July 1, 2016, a disagreement between Johnson and Lumber turned deadly. According to Multnomah County District Court documents, witnesses reported loud arguing, the sounds of a physical fight, and eventually sounds that were initially thought to be fireworks, but later were determined to be shots from a .40 caliber handgun.

Investigators found a deceased woman in the apartment briefly shared by Johnson and Lumber. East Portland News file photo

The following morning, Johnson reportedly woke up around 6:30 a.m., left his apartment and called his parents to report Lumber deceased inside the residence, and then returned to his apartment and called 9-1-1.

Johnson was arrested and charged with “Homicide – Domestic Violence”, and eventually was held without bail at Multnomah County Inverness Jail.

Instead of finally going to trial, this month – on January 9 – Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced that Johnson had pleaded guilty to Manslaughter in the First Degree with a Firearm constituting Domestic Violence, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon constituting Domestic Violence, for intentionally causing the death of Lumber.

By pleading guilty, Underhill explained, Johnson was admitting that he caused the death of Lumber using a firearm, under circumstances “manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life”.

Cory Lumber’s family provided this photo of her working at Paulsen’s Pharmacy. She was known for “making friends, and great milkshakes”.

At Johnson’s sentencing hearing on January 16, the slain woman’s sister, Deann Ruth-Lumber, spoke on behalf of the more than two dozen people who attended the hearing:  “Cory had an extremely good and caring heart. She would, when she could, go out of her way to help a friend in need. Cory always considered you her friend, even if there were short breaks in the relationship.”

This photo, shown to the court, shows Kelly Sprague and her sister, Cory, on a happy occasion.

Ms. Lumber’s family has “made it abundantly clear that she was a kind, fun-loving person with a magnetic personality, who easily forged friendships wherever she went,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Kelley Rhoades, who prosecuted this case.

Sentenced to 18 years in prison is this man, Spencer Thomas Johnson. MCDC booking photo

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Christopher J. Marshall let Johnston know he was to serve an 18-year prison sentence for the crime at an Oregon Department of Corrections facility and is currently at their Coffee Creek Intake Center. Johnson’s “earliest release date” has not yet been set.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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