Three charged in beating in Medford last May

Three people face charges in what Medford police describe as a random beating and stabbing of a man walking home from a bar last May.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on May 14, a 26-year-old man walking in the area of Stevens Street and Wabash Avenue was attacked by three people he didn't know, police said. They beat him and stabbed him in the back. He was taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center with a serious stab wound as well as other injuries, Lt. Mike Budreau said.

"This is pretty concerning," Budreau said. "There is usually a reason, so to speak — a girl, gang involvement, robbery. He had no enemies and we had no motive. That's why it took us so long to solve."

A recent tip led investigators to the identity of a man suspected in the stabbing and another man and woman from Medford believed to have participated in the attack.

On Tuesday, police arrested Jose Manuel Ayala, 22, at a home in Trail on two charges each of second- and third-degree assault. He was arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court Wednesday and remained lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $100,000 bail after his court appearance.

Police interviewed, cited and released two other suspects: 22-year-old William Christopher Gress and 20-year-old Daisy Cabrera. Gress is charged with two counts of third-degree assault and Cabrera is charged with two counts of second-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault, court records show.

Investigators claim that Ayala, Gress and Cabrera had decided to assault the next person they saw. The man they attacked was walking home from a bar when he happened to pass them. The assailants also likely had been drinking, Budreau said.

While Budreau noted that random attacks are rare in Medford, he said that Cabrera was involved in another assault on a stranger in early June, just blocks from where the May stabbing happened.

She pleaded guilty in January to third-degree assault in that later case and is on probation, records show.

Budreau said in that incident Cabrera and Jessica Curtis, also now 20, approached a 55-year-old woman walking near the intersection of Stevens Street and Northwood Drive at 2:22 a.m. on June 9. They pushed the woman down and hit her several times, leaving her with cuts and bruises on her head.

A patrol officer responded to the scene and quickly found Cabrera and Curtis nearby, charging them each with third-degree assault. Both ultimately pleaded guilty in that attack, which police said appeared to be random.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at, or 541-776-4485.

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