Defense rests in trial of former Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The defense has rested in the case of former Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah.

One key argument was addressed before the jury was called in Thursday morning.

Defense attorney Rosalind Lee had sought to present evidence that Skrah was targeted for investigation by Corporal Darren Krag, who himself was the subject of an internal investigation at the Sheriff’s Office.

Lee says Krag wrote a letter stating that if Skrah did not resign, he would call for an investigation into claims that Skrah used excessive force.

However, Judge Roxanne Osborne sided with prosecutors, who said the motive behind the investigation was not relevant to charges claiming use of excessive force.

Once the jury returned, the defense called witnesses who stated that none of the alleged victims claimed to have been injured by Skrah when they were taken to the jail.

Jail Deputy Ralph Sprague booked Jason Charles, who was allegedly hit in the face by Skrah.

“One of the questions is, ‘Have you ever been assaulted?'” testified Sprague. “And when I asked him that question, he just stood there staring at me, and didn’t reply – and I left it, on the paperwork itself, I just left it blank.”

Sergeant Billy Stripling asked the same question of Kenneth Bragg, who was allegedly choked by Skrah. “I believe he answered ‘no’ to that question,” testified Stripling.

Late Wednesday, Malin Marshal Ron Broussard testified he had not seen Skrah assault James Johnson.

“If you had seen Sheriff Skrah take somebody out of a car, and put a flashlight to their throat, would you have reported it?” asked Defense Attorney Lee. “Absolutely,” Broussard answered.

Closing arguments are set for Friday morning.

Former Sheriff Skrah is charged with 7 criminal misdemeanor charges related to excessive use of force, and official misconduct.

If convicted, Skrah could be sentenced to up to a year in jail.

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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