New Emphasis On Klamath County Domestic Violence Cases

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, January 29 2014 at 4:25 PM, Updated: Wed, January 29 2014 at 4:37 PM

Klamath County ranks third among Oregon's 36 counties in terms of domestic violence per person...and the District Attorney is taking steps to reduce those numbers.

Klamath County District Attorney Rob Patridge says he's making domestic violence cases a priority...

"We've got a domestic problem here in Klamath County, and we've got to deal with it."

Patridge says one key is prosecuting defendants before they can abuse again.

Steven Matthew Onstead plead 'guilty' Tuesday to multiple domestic violence charges.

"He's a repeat offender."  Notes D.A. Patridge.  "We busted him in September, and took it to trial then, and here we are in January sending him to prison on new charges for 60 months."

Patridge says Travis Fitzwater is another repeat offender...who plead 'guilty' to several charges this morning...

"We've got Mr. Fitzwater, who's going to prison for 42 months, for tampering with witnesses, and coercion as well as the underlying assault."

Doug Brunnemer was found guilty of assault and strangulation charges during a three day trial earlier this month...he'll be sentenced in mid-February.

While prosecution efforts are paying off, Patridge says domestic abuse prevention will take a community effort...

"And we hope people will step forward to help us address some of these concerns, and better protect our community."

Patridge adds that 'Settlement Tuesdays' are helping to resolve many repeat offender cases.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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