ORS 163.107¹
Murder in the first degree
  • sentence of life imprisonment required
  • minimum term

(1) “Murder in the first degree” means murder in the second degree as defined in ORS 163.115 (Murder in the second degree) which is committed under, or accompanied by, any of the following circumstances:

(a) The defendant committed the murder pursuant to an agreement that the defendant receive money or other thing of value for committing the murder.

(b) The defendant solicited another to commit the murder and paid or agreed to pay the person money or other thing of value for committing the murder.

(c) The defendant committed murder after having been convicted previously in any jurisdiction of any homicide, the elements of which constitute the crime of aggravated murder as defined in ORS 163.095 (“Aggravated murder” defined), murder in the first degree under this section, murder in the second degree as defined in ORS 163.115 (Murder in the second degree) or manslaughter in the first degree as defined in ORS 163.118 (Manslaughter in the first degree).

(d) There was more than one murder victim in the same criminal episode as defined in ORS 131.505 (Definitions for ORS 131.505 to 131.525).

(e) The homicide occurred in the course of or as a result of intentional maiming or torture of the victim.

(f) The victim of the intentional homicide was a person under the age of 14 years.

(g) The victim was one of the following and the murder was related to the performance of the victim’s official duties in the justice system:

(A) A police officer as defined in ORS 181A.355 (Definitions for ORS 181A.355 to 181A.670);

(B) A correctional, parole and probation officer or other person charged with the duty of custody, control or supervision of convicted persons;

(C) A member of the Oregon State Police;

(D) A judicial officer as defined in ORS 1.210 (Judicial officer defined);

(E) A juror or witness in a criminal proceeding;

(F) An employee or officer of a court of justice;

(G) A member of the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision; or

(H) A regulatory specialist.

(h) The defendant was confined in a state, county or municipal penal or correctional facility or was otherwise in custody when the murder occurred.

(i) The defendant committed murder by means of an explosive as defined in ORS 164.055 (Theft in the first degree).

(j) Notwithstanding ORS 163.115 (Murder in the second degree) (1)(b), the defendant personally and intentionally committed the homicide under the circumstances set forth in ORS 163.115 (Murder in the second degree) (1)(b).

(k) The murder was committed in an effort to conceal the commission of a crime, or to conceal the identity of the perpetrator of a crime.

(L) The murder was committed after the defendant had escaped from a state, county or municipal penal or correctional facility and before the defendant had been returned to the custody of the facility.

(2)(a) Except as otherwise provided in ORS 163.155 (Sentencing for murder of pregnant victim) and paragraph (b) of this subsection, the court shall sentence a person convicted of murder in the first degree, who was at least 15 years of age at the time of committing the murder, to life imprisonment. The court shall order that the defendant be confined for a minimum of 30 years without possibility of parole or release to post-prison supervision except as provided in ORS 144.397 (Release eligibility for juvenile offenders after 15 years of imprisonment), and without the possibility of release on work release or any form of temporary leave or employment at a forest or work camp.

(b) The court may sentence the person to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if the person was at least 18 years of age at the time of committing the murder. The court shall state on the record the reasons for imposing the sentence. A person sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole under this paragraph shall not have that sentence suspended, deferred or commuted by any judicial officer, and the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision may not parole the prisoner nor reduce the period of confinement in any manner whatsoever. The Department of Corrections or any executive official may not permit the prisoner to participate in any sort of release or furlough program.

(3)(a) For a person sentenced to life imprisonment, at any time after completion of the minimum period of confinement described in subsection (2)(a) of this section, the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision, upon the petition of a prisoner so confined, shall hold a hearing to determine if the prisoner is likely to be rehabilitated within a reasonable period of time. The sole issue is whether the prisoner is likely to be rehabilitated within a reasonable period of time. At the hearing the prisoner has:

(A) The burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the likelihood of rehabilitation within a reasonable period of time;

(B) The right, if the prisoner is without sufficient funds to employ an attorney, to be represented by legal counsel, appointed by the board, at board expense; and

(C) The right to a subpoena upon a showing of the general relevance and reasonable scope of the evidence sought, provided that any subpoena issued on behalf of the prisoner must be issued by the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision pursuant to rules adopted by the board.

(b) If, upon hearing all of the evidence, the board, upon a unanimous vote of three board members or, if the chairperson requires all voting members to participate, a unanimous vote of all voting members, finds that the prisoner is capable of rehabilitation and that the terms of the prisoner’s confinement should be changed to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, release to post-prison supervision or work release, it shall enter an order to that effect and the order shall convert the terms of the prisoner’s confinement to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, release to post-prison supervision or work release and may set a release date. Otherwise, the board shall deny the relief sought in the petition.

(c) If the board denies the relief sought in the petition, the board shall determine the date of the subsequent hearing, and the prisoner may petition for an interim hearing, in accordance with ORS 144.285 (Hearing after petition for change in terms of confinement denied to prisoner convicted of aggravated murder or murder).

(d) The board’s final order shall be accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions of law. The findings of fact shall consist of a concise statement of the underlying facts supporting the findings as to each contested issue of fact and as to each ultimate fact required to support the board’s order. [2019 c.635 §3; 2019 c.635 §3a]

Law Review Cita­tions

51 OLR 459-493 (1972)

Chapter 163

Law Review Cita­tions

51 OLR 427-637 (1972)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 163—Offenses Against Persons, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors163.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 163, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano163.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information