Man indicted in ball-bat attack

A man suspected of beating a Central Point man to death with a baseball bat was indicted Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court on a charge of first-degree manslaughter, officials said.

If convicted, Brett Christian Adams, 22, will spend 10 years in prison, as first-degree manslaughter is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence under Oregon law.

Adams is charged with the death of 29-year-old Donald Burton Crowley. An argument at Crowley's home in the 200 block of North Eighth Street in Central Point led to the attack, police said.

Crowley lost consciousness after being struck in the head with an aluminum baseball bat. He died Aug. 8 after spending more than a week in the hospital, police said.

Adams ran off after the attack and was arrested a few blocks from the house. Crowley's family said police found the baseball bat in the back of Adams' truck.

The family has previously said they favored a murder charge against Adams.

Jackson County Senior Deputy District Attorney Tim Barnack, who refused to discuss specific aspects of the case, said he would consider once again presenting the case before a grand jury if more information comes to light.

"If we receive further evidence that shows Adams intended to kill Crowley, then we would certainly take it to grand jury and seek a murder charge," Barnack said.

A manslaughter charge stems from a suspect being aware that his actions pose a substantial risk of death, but choosing to ignore that risk, Barnack said.

The first-degree assault and second-degree assault charges Central Point detectives originally lodged against Adams will be dropped in lieu of the manslaughter charge, Barnack said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 774-4471; or e-mail

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