PORTLAND — An appeals court overturned the conviction of an Oregon man with bipolar disorder who attacked a hunter while claiming to be a Sasquatch.
A statement Linus Norgren made to a deputy that he "was a Sasquatch and was from a family of Sasquatches" showed he was having a mental break from reality, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
He didn't knowingly and intelligently waive his Miranda rights, and incriminating statements made during the interview should not have been allowed at his March 2015 trial, the court said.
Washington County deputies arrested Norgren in October 2013, saying the 20-year-old was naked when he hit a 58-year-old hunter with a rock and tried to choke him in woods west of Portland.
Despite suffering multiple injuries, the hunter, Jeff McDonald, fought back and held his attacker at gunpoint until authorities arrived. Norgren was lying in a fetal position.
McDonald told The Oregonian/OregonLive after the trial that he asked Norgren during their struggle: "Why are you trying to kill me?" He said Norgren replied, "'Sasquatch kills the hunter.'"
Jurors convicted Norgren of assault and attempted murder, and Washington County Judge Thomas Kohl sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
The case now returns to county court.
Kohl had decided Norgren was properly given his Miranda rights based on the deputy's assertion that the suspect gave responsive answers and the only unusual statement was the one about Sasquatch.
Defense attorneys told jurors that Norgren believed he was acting in self-defense and his behavior was caused by bipolar disorder.
Norgren was on medical leave from the University of Oregon to address his mental health and had stopped taking his medication, his mother testified.