Murder accomplice sentenced to 3 years

YREKA, Calif. — The accomplice of a Medford woman accused of murdering her husband in Siskiyou County last fall was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday afternoon after family members from both sides of the case spoke passionately for and against a stiff sentence, prosecutors said.

Amber Lubbers, 27, of Medford, pleaded guilty Thursday in Siskiyou County Superior Court to one count of being an accessory after the fact to the November murder of 34-year-old Michael Christopher MacCallum. She received the maximum sentence allowed by California law, said Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus.

"She was there during the commission of the crime and she participated in trying to cover it up," said Andrus.

MacCallum's body was found Nov. 20 at the base of a steep cliff south of Applegate Lake and the California border. An autopsy revealed MacCallum had been shot.

The main suspect in the case is MacCallum's wife, 26-year-old Patricia MacCallum, who is facing a first-degree murder charge. She and Lubbers were arrested Dec. 7 in Medford.

Lubbers pleaded guilty to the single count in February, as she and MacCallum appeared together in a preliminary hearing. Lubbers then testified against MacCallum in court that day. Lubbers, the first to be arrested in the case, had previously made statements to investigators about her role in the alleged cover-up, Andrus said.

"She gave us a lot of information about the event, and even in the planning," Andrus said. "Her testimony is the way we will prove our murder case. We still have a murder trial to go through."

Michael MacCallum worked in Medford as a driver for Checker Cab and as a bartender. The victim had celebrated his birthday Nov. 17, and had been on a camping trip in northern Siskiyou County near the Oregon border.

His mother made an impassioned speech at Lubbers' sentencing, seeking the maximum penalty allowed by law, Andrus said.

"She made a very powerful statement on behalf of her son," he said, adding that Lubbers did not contest her sentence.

Lubbers' friends and family members also attended the sentencing, Andrus said. Lubbers father-in-law also spoke, he said.

"He reminded the judge that Lubbers' children also needed her," Andrus said.

Both Lubbers and Patricia MacCallum have young children.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey has said investigators have a motive and evidence against MacCallum, but he has declined to reveal them.

MacCallum's trial date is set for Aug. 1. If convicted on the first-degree murder charge, MacCallum faces a sentence of 25 years to life under California law.

Andrus does not anticipate offering a plea agreement to MacCallum.

"Certainly not anything that's not life in prison," Andrus said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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