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Statesman Journal: Burglar Sentenced To 9 Years In Prison

A man shot by a Marion County deputy in April was sentenced Friday to nine years and two months in prison on multiple charges unrelated to the shooting.

Dusty Epps pleaded guilty to two burglary charges and two unauthorized uses of a vehicle. The district attorney’s office has not charged Epps in connection with the shooting.

“In a sense it’s a relief,” Epps, of Jefferson, said during an interview at the Marion County jail. “It’s finalizing things.”

On April 23, Epps and his girlfriend Jessica Houser were stopped while driving their Jeep Cherokee in the 6000 block of Fircrest Street SE by Deputy Clifford Self. The deputy attempted to take Epps into custody for a warrant when a “confrontation occurred” and Self shot Epps eight times, according to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.

Epps — who was was shot in his legs, hip, lungs, arm and hand — has said that he was unarmed with his hands in the air at the time of the shooting.

Notices of tort claims were filed last week the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon State Police and Deputy Self, Epps said. The notices are a letter required by the state before a person can sue a public entity. OSP couldn’t confirm that it had received a notice. Spokesman Gregg Hastings said it’s the agency’s position not to comment on legal matters.

Epps said he plans to sue for damages in connection to the shooting.

Epps has a long arrest record with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and he’s spent more than half of his adult life in prison for burglary, vehicle theft and methamphetamine convictions. Two months before the shooting, Epps stopped checking in with his probation officer, Bobby Otis.

Epps said he took the plea deal because “they were wanting to bring other charges. I don’t want to do 20 or 25 (years) … I don’t want to see my girl when she’s 25.”

Houser is scheduled to give birth to the couple’s first child in December. Houser is serving five years at Coffee Creek Correctional Institution for the same crimes.

District Attorney Walt Beglau repeatedly refused to release information and documents about the shooting — including responding to Epps’ allegations that he was unarmed.

Beglau said the shooting was connected to Epps’ criminal trial and “as such, they relate to an open and pending criminal prosecution in Marion County Circuit Court.”

With the conclusion of Epps’ criminal trial, the Statesman Journal resubmitted its request for all reports generated during the investigation into Epps’ shooting. The district attorney’s office is in the process of preparing the case file.

astaver@Statesman, (503) 399-6610 or on Twitter @AnnaStaver

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