Posted by Maxine Bernstein; The Oregonian June 27, 2008 18:02PM
Categories: Breaking News
James A. Knutson fatally stabbed a Gresham teenager after the teenager and two of his friends yelled profanity-laced racist slurs at Knutson and a Filipino woman, according to court documents filed Friday.
The woman walking with Knutson, a 38-year-old white male, told investigators that they encountered three white males at the Safeway at Southeast 162nd Avenue and Division Street. The young men were on the west side of 162nd Avenue, and shouted a racist slur and profanities at her as they walked on the east side of the avenue.
Knutson and the woman kept walking to meet a third friend, and when they came back through the same intersection, the three young white men continued to taunt them, shouting racist and lewd epithets. One of the three young men, later identified as 17-year-old Billy Lyle Henderson, ran across the avenue towards Knutson and his friends.
Henderson allegedly told Knutson's female friend that he was not going to "beat up" her, but was going to "teach a lesson" to Knutson, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The woman told officers at that point she was holding a switchblade knife that she carries. Knutson suddenly grabbed it from her with such force that it cut her middle finger, and stabbed Henderson once or twice. Knutson told his friend to run.
They met later in the evening at a mobile home in the 16700 block of Southeast Division Street. Knutson told friends he had "just shanked a guy," witnesses told police.
Portland police were called to the area at 10:39 p.m. Wednesday. Someone reported a man in the road who looked as though he was suffering from a seizure. Officers found Henderson dead of stab wounds at the northeast corner of Southeast 162nd Avenue and Main Street.
With the help of a Multnomah County sheriff's deputy, who recognized the description of the suspect as someone who goes by the street name "Rock Head," Portland police located Knutson at the mobile home park about 4:15 a.m. Thursday. Knutson was arraigned on one count of murder Friday.
Portland police say they don't know if Henderson or his friends have any gang connections, but East Precinct officers say they've noticed an increase in European Kindred, and white supremacist affiliated gang violence.
Maxine Bernstein: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Oregon Live