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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reader poll: Who killed Nancy Bergeson?

It was three years ago today that federal public defender Nancy Bergeson was found murdered in her southwest Portland home. The police bungled the initial investigation, and it wasn't known that she was murdered until the autopsy the next day. They apparently don't have a suspect, and the trail is cold indeed. At first the police said there was no sign of a struggle, but last summer they changed that tune. She apparently was strangled with a soft cloth that didn't leave outward marks. Her golden retriever was found with Bergeson's body and was unharmed.

When a prosecutor or defense lawyer is killed, it's important for everyone in the community that the killer be brought to justice. The court system is central to the protection of everyone's safety and liberty, and when an officer of the court is murdered, that safety and liberty is badly compromised.

In the recent stories about the Bergeson murder, not many mention the case that Bergeson was working on when she died. It was the trial of three men charged with tax crimes in connection with their resistance to the federal tax system. The three of them were found guilty the day before Bergeson was found dead. Bergeson, a veteran trial lawyer, told a friend that she was upset about the verdict. A Milwaukie man, M. Roy Bendshadler, was one of the three defendants, and he was Bergeson's client. He subsequently did jail time for the tax-related crime. Internet postings purporting to be by Bendshadler suggest that Bergeson was killed by someone connected with the federal government, because she was looking into jury tampering in Bendshadler's case. That suggestion has been picked up by many internet sites with an ax to grind against the feds, although its truth has not been substantiated by hard evidence.

Not that speculation on a website like this matters at all, but if you had to guess, who would say killed Bergeson? If you think it was murder for hire, who hired the killer?

Who killed Nancy Bergeson?
pollcode.com free polls 

Comments (8)

Truly disturbing like the murderer of that federal prosecuter in Seattle about ten years ago.

Or like the Franke case.

When a prime suspect points to someone else, often times it's to throw the cops off-track and distract & confuse. This is especially true among co-defendants -- the smarter one falsely fingers the lesser as the killer, and usually gets away with it because the cops & prosecutors are all too excited to have a "snitch" hand them their case on a platter. I've seen it time and time again in the real world. Gullible is as gullible does.

It doesn't surprise me that the investigation was botched. While I was interning at Metro Public Defender the police treated me like an enemy.

Quote: Just wait until you need on of us, we won't be around.

I don’t have an answer for Jack's questions, but I have a question of my own: Does Steven Wax know who killed Nancy Bergeson?

I'm sure Wax has a theory -- many people do -- but I doubt that he knows for sure.

I also believe the cops have a suspect, but don't have much of a case. Kyron Horman revisited.

Sad story about Mrs. Bergeson, especially when the surrounding circumstances bring about many pieces to the puzzle.
I was going to mention Franke too. In the same vein [2008-9?], John Wheeler III,a former presidential aide, the man who basically setup the Vietnam Memorial in D.C.; found in a dumpster. That story was covered by the news, but never really covered.

I haven't followed this case but do remember the surprising murder. I very much agree with Jack that anytime the justice system is attacked it must be vigorously defended. Why did the police not give enough consideration to murder at the outset? A healthy younger person suddenly dead with no apparent reason requires a vigorous investigation.

Perhaps at some point Stephen Wax will come out with his thoughts. And cold cases do get solved every so often. I pray that this one does.

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