Lake Oswego murder suspect caught in Corvallis - KPTV - FOX 12

No bail for Lake Oswego murder suspect after facing judge

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Erik Meiser in court Monday Erik Meiser in court Monday
Meiser in the lobby of the Super 8 Motel in Corvallis Meiser in the lobby of the Super 8 Motel in Corvallis
Fritz Hayes' family addresses the media Monday. Fritz Hayes' family addresses the media Monday.
Frederick "Fritz" Wheeler Hayes Jr. Frederick "Fritz" Wheeler Hayes Jr.

The accused killer of a Lake Oswego man is being kept behind bars without bail after being arraigned on charges including aggravated murder in court Monday.

Erik Meiser is also charged with robbery and burglary. Court documents show Meiser is accused of breaking into two other homes on the same day deputies said he killed Fredrick "Fritz" Hayes Jr.

One of the homes is on Atwater Road, the same road where deputies found the 57-year-old victim. The other home was on North State Street, about two miles away.

Meiser was captured outside a Super 8 Motel in Corvallis over the weekend.

Detectives said Monday Meiser is the sole person responsible for the murder of Hayes. There are no other suspects in the case.

Deputies said Meiser became aware at some point last week that he was wanted in connection with the killing.

Investigators said he intentionally changed his appearance and left the area to try and avoid being spotted and arrested.

A team of deputy marshals and sheriff's detectives were following up on a lead that Meiser was in Corvallis when they spotted him on the sidewalk outside the motel at 407 Second St.

Investigators said Meiser was caught by surprise and was taken into custody without a struggle. He was then taken to the Clackamas County Jail on Saturday evening, and his first court appearance is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

The manager of the Super 8 Motel, Tony Bassi, said Meiser tried to rent a room just moments before his arrest. But Bassi turned Meiser away because he could not produce any identification.

"He looked nice to me," said Bassi. "He said, ‘OK, I have to go somewhere else.' That's it."

Surveillance video obtained by FOX 12 shows the exchange before Meiser walked out of the lobby. Bassi said Meiser stayed at the hotel Friday night because a front desk clerk forgot to ask for identification.

Bassi and his staff did not know Meiser was a fugitive at the time.

Investigators said Meiser killed 57-year-old Hayes at his Lake Oswego home on the morning of Sept. 17.

Hayes was a retired engineer who most recently worked at computer solutions provider All Tech 1. He was described by family friends and neighbors as "a wonderful man" and "the coolest dad."

Court documents also allege that Meiser threatened to use physical force against the victim's wife, Margaret Hayes.

Investigators said the woman was not hurt.

Remembered by family and friends

A private memorial service was held for Fredrick Hayes on Sunday night at the chapel at Oregon Episcopal School.

Neighbors in Lake Oswego said they're relieved, but still grieving the loss.

"We're a pretty tightly knit community, so a lot of us are feeling this," said Art Ward, a local teacher.

The family had a similar reaction to the arrest.

The victim's sister, Ruth Hayes-Arista, said when Margaret Hayes and her three children got the news, "They said their yells were so loud, they could probably hear it in downtown Portland."

Hayes-Arista was having lunch with other relatives at the time.

"We immediately ordered another round of mugs and just hoisted a glass to all of the people that helped make it happen. Just for the relief of the whole thing," she said. "It really was a pretty great moment."

The family's focus, she said, is not on Meiser but on remembering and honoring her brother.

"One of the best legacies, as the kids have said, is that we stay involved with each other, continue to embrace each other and the community and heal together," said Hayes-Arista. "There's no way that we want this terrible situation and this terrible man who did this to have any space in this community and this family."

A candlelight vigil is scheduled at the Lake Oswego Church of Christ at 7 p.m. Monday. The public is invited to attend.

A long criminal history

In addition to the Lake Oswego murder, Meiser was wanted in connection with a knife attack in Ogden, UT. On Sept. 8, Ogden police said, Meiser slashed the face of a victim at the Ogden Transportation Hub. That victim was rushed to a hospital to be treated for severe face lacerations.

Along with the alleged crimes in Oregon and Utah, Meiser's arrest record spans several other states: Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is now working with agencies throughout the region to determine if Meiser is responsible for any other crimes.

His arrests came on charges of burglary, resisting arrest, false identification to police, possession of narcotics, vandalism, disorderly conduct, battery, trespass, theft, assault, domestic violence, cruelty toward a child, violation of a protective order, obscene phone calls and ethnic intimidation.

Meiser has several white supremacist tattoos including the word "Nazi" on his left fingers. He also has other tattoos, mostly of white supremacy imagery, located on his left arm, left finger, right leg, abdomen, back, right calf, left leg, left calf and left shoulder.

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