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Former Lebanon police officer gets two life terms for double murder
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Former Lebanon police officer gets two life terms for double murder

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A former Lebanon police officer who admitted killing his ex-girlfriend and her new partner was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison in Linn County Circuit Court Thursday.

Brenton Wade Richmond, 50, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of second-degree murder in the February 2019 shooting deaths of Tammy Hopper, 42, and Erik Jacobs, 48, in Tammy Hopper’s Lebanon home. On Thursday, he appeared in person for his sentencing in a temporary courtroom at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center in Albany. 

Judge David Delsman sentenced Richmond to two consecutive life terms after hearing hours of testimony from those close to the victims. Richmond will not be eligible for parole for 50 years, and, if released, he will remain under court supervision for the rest of his life. Delsman described the murders as deliberate and premeditated.

Richmond's attorney, Geoffrey Gokey, made a last-minute pitch for leniency before the sentence was handed down, arguing that the murders were not premeditated. Gokey also argued that a sentence other than life gives inmates hope and encourages better behavior in prison.

Delsman said Richmond’s history of behavioral and relationship issues gave him a long time to change his behavior, which he did not. In 2002, while still a Lebanon Police Department officer, Richmond was involved in a SWAT team standoff in Lebanon after he reportedly threatened to commit suicide.

Prosecutors read statements from people close to the victims Thursday morning, and Tammy Hopper’s mother, Deborah, gave a passionate speech directly addressing Richmond.

Deborah Hopper described her daughter as the center of the family and the person who brought everyone together. Other members of Hopper’s family, including her children and aunt, spoke emotionally about the loss their family has suffered.

Tammy Hopper was described as a loving mother, daughter, sister and grandmother — the extreme sense of loss was on full display Thursday.

Jacobs was described by loved ones as a dedicated son and father, and as someone with a deep appreciation of nature.

A statement written by Jacobs’ mother and read by the prosecution described his parents' agony over the loss of their son.

“Our lives turned upside down and inside out,” the statement said. “There are no words for the pain and anguish we do, and always will, feel.”

Richmond gave a very brief statement before Delsman handed down the sentence, describing his actions as “inexcusable” and apologizing to the families and friends of the victims.

Prosecutor Ani Yardumian said Thursday in court that Richmond killed Tammy Hopper and Jacobs in a premeditated act.

“It wasn’t the heat of the moment,” Yardumian said. “It was a calculated crime.”

Two weeks before the murders, Richmond, whose father is the former Lebanon police chief, had threatened to kill Hopper and any man she was seeing, according to court documents.

Yardumian said Richmond gained entry to Tammy Hopper's home using the lock code, which he had from their time in a prior relationship, before shooting Hopper and Jacobs to death in what Yardumian described as an “execution.”

Yardumian said Richmond retrieved the spent casings from the rounds he fired and disassembled the gun he used to shoot Tammy Hopper and Jacobs before disposing of the pieces in a nearby waterway.

“He was thinking and he was planning every step of the way,” Yardumian said.

Richmond boarded a plane to San Francisco on Feb. 9, 2019, and was detained in San Diego the next day as he attempted to cross into Mexico on foot.

Attorneys for the prosecution and the defense could not be reached for comment after the sentencing Thursday.

K. Rambo can be contacted at 541-812-6091 or k.rambo@lee.net. Follow on Twitter via @k_rambo_.

Reporter Kyle Odegard contributed to this report.

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