Ex-Marine attempted to hire hit, prosecutor alleges

A former Marine accused of shooting and killing his wife in their Medford-area home Friday first tried to hire someone to commit the crime, a prosecutor said Monday during an arraignment proceeding.

Bourne Huddleston, 43, appeared before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Gerking, and pleaded not guilty to three Measure 11 charges: murder, attempted aggravated murder and attempted murder.

He also pleaded not guilty to charges of soliciting aggravated murder, soliciting murder and possession of a silencer.

Police and Jackson County Fire District No. 5 responded to the Huddlestons' home at 6645 Pioneer Road after a 9-1-1 call reported her bleeding at 2:10 a.m. March 23. Police tracked Huddleston to an Eagle Point residence where he was arrested without incident.

Police reports say the couple's 10-year-old son was in the Pioneer Road home southwest of Medford at the time of the shooting. Neighbors have stated they did not hear any gunshots.

Huddleston was represented at the Monday afternoon arraignment by Michael Bertholf. The public defender told the United States Marine Corp veteran not to speak about the case to anyone — including cellmates, friends or family members.

"Yes, sir," Huddleston responded.

Prosecutor David Hoppe said the state is alleging Huddleston killed his 34-year-old wife, Kristy Huddleston, who died of a gunshot wound.

She worked as a nurse case manager at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where she helped returning military veterans reintegrate into the community following deployment, VA officials said.

Huddleston allegedly tried to hire someone else to kill his wife, Hoppe said. But that unnamed person did not commit the crimes, Hoppe said. Instead Huddleston did, Hoppe said.

Case law supports the charges of attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder and the two accompanying solicitation charges against Huddleston, Hoppe said. The law also allows the state to seek consecutive time on the Measure 11 charges should Huddleston be convicted of multiple charges, he said.

The charges of murder and possession of a silencer are related to the events of March 23. The attempted aggravated murder and attempted murder, and the solicitation charges are related to a different day, Hoppe said.

The solicitation charges link Huddleston to the attempted murder charges because soliciting someone to commit murder was "a substantial step towards committing the goal of killing (Kristy Huddleston)", he said.

"That is murder for hire," Hoppe said.

Murder carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years, attempted aggravated murder carries a 10-year sentence and attempted murder carries a mandatory sentence of 71/2 years, Hoppe said.

Gerking ordered Huddleston held in Jackson County Jail without bail. A preliminary hearing has been set for April 16 pending a grand jury investigation.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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