17 1/2 year sentence in masked murder case
EUGENE: A Blue River man will spend over a dozen years in prison following sentencing in Lane County Circuit Court last Thursday. Kenneth Robert Lee, 47, will serve 17 1/2 years behind bars as an accomplice in the January death of 38-year-old Terry Fruichantie of Cottage Grove. Robert Paul Smith, 35, drew a life sentence with no parole option for the murder of Fruichantie.
According to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, The death investigation began at approximately 8:45 p.m. on January 13th, when Lane County Sheriff’s deputies, along with Cottage Grove Police, Oregon State Police, and South Lane Fire/Rescue personnel, responded to a 911 call from a residence in the 72000 block of London Road in response to the report of a shooting.
Witnesses at the scene indicated that two unknown individuals armed and wearing masks entered the residence and confronted Fruichantie in an apparent robbery attempt. After a brief altercation, one of the subjects “pistol whipped” and then shot the victim. Both men fled the home. Fruichantie was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Police arrested Lee at 51752 Blue River Drive in June of 2012. Smith later waived extradition from California after he was located in the custody of the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith, 34, was charged with Aggravated Murder, Robbery in the First Degree with a Firearm (5 counts), Burglary in the First Degree with a Firearm, Assault 2, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
Lee, 46, was charged with Robbery in the First Degree with a Firearm (5 counts), Burglary in the First Degree with a Firearm, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
During the investigation Lee agreed to cooperate with authorities and testified against Smith at a March trial where Smith was convicted of murder.
McKenzie River Reflections