Records: Sledgehammer used in Ore. woman’s slaying

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Newly unsealed court documents in Oregon show a sledgehammer was used in the October slaying of a retired utility company executive in suburban Portland.

The records obtained by The Oregonian reveal 71-year-old Jacqueline Bell of Cedar Mill was killed with a sledgehammer, and that her body was found wrapped in sheets on her bedroom floor.

Bell’s great-grandson, Joda Cain, 17, and his cousin, Micus Ward, 19, have been charged with aggravated murder. They pleaded not guilty.

Oregon State Police began pursuing the teens Oct. 5, after they were seen speeding through Eastern Oregon in Bell’s Lexus.

Records show investigators found blood in both the driver and passenger sides of the car. Bell was retired from PacifiCorp.

The teens provided conflicting stories in statements to detectives.

Cain said he knew Ward from when they both lived in Kansas City and had his great-grandmother buy Ward a plane ticket.

Early Oct. 5, Cain was at Bell’s home with Ward and a friend. Ward left the two and went upstairs. Cain then heard his great-grandmother screaming for him, and he ran to help. His friend took off.

In Bell’s bedroom, Cain said, he found Ward kneeling over her with weapons in both hands. Cain said he followed Ward’s orders to him to drive them away from the house.

Ward, court records say, told police he was asleep before Cain woke him and said they should take Bell’s car for a drive. Ward, who denied going into Bell’s room, said Cain had sent him a text message days earlier saying Bell “was worth 7 million dollars and he wanted her dead.”

An 18-year-old who had been with Ward and Cain told police he woke at about 2 a.m. to the sound of screaming, and saw Cain running upstairs. He estimated the screaming continued for two minutes before he was fully awake. He grabbed his phone and left.

At 2:55 a.m., the teen called police. He didn’t know where he was, and said he left his friend’s house after hearing screams and yelling about money, court records say. He didn’t know if weapons were involved. Deputies found the teen and drove him home to Aloha, southwest of Cedar Mill.

The teen’s mother called police five hours later because she couldn’t reach Bell and was concerned.

Deputies were dispatched to check on Bell at 8:16 a.m.

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