Final co-conspirator sentenced in Aaron Friar murder case

MEDFORD, Ore. – A man pleaded “no contest” in connection with the murder of a Medford father.

On October 2, 2017, officers with the Medford Police Department conducted a welfare check at a home in the 500 block of Benson Street. There was evidence of a disturbance, but nobody was found at the home and the resident’s vehicle was missing, MPD said.

The vehicle was eventually found abandoned in the 100 block of Mariposa Terrace at 9:52 a.m.

An hour later, three people believed to be involved in the case were found walking on Barnett Road near Black Oak Drive. They were detained by police.

The investigation then led police to the 9100 block of East Antelope Road. At that location, detectives found a man’s body that appeared to have been dumped over a dirt embankment. The body was later identified as that of 50-year-old Aaron Friar, the resident of the home on Benson Street.

At the time, police said they believed 19-year-old Gavin Curtis MacFarlane, 22-year-old Russell Pierce Jones II, and Friar’s 15-year-old daughter conspired to kill the girl’s father, Aaron Friar.

Prosecutors say MacFarlane beat Friar with a baseball bat while he was sleeping and stole his vehicle, using it to transport the body to where it was found dumped along the side of a rural road. MacFarlane allegedly had help transporting the body, but the D.A.’s office didn’t provide details.

During an investigation into the case, a warrant was served in the 20 block of Almond Street in Medford. There, police found a written plan detailing the death of Friar, along with the planned death of Jones’ father.

Eventually, MacFarlane pleaded guilty to murder, tampering with physical evidence and criminal conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole until he’s served at least 25 years.

Ellen Friar was sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree. She will start her sentence in a juvenile facility until she’s 25, which the judge hopes will provide resources for her to reform her life.

Finally, on August 11, 2021, Russell Jones II entered no-contest pleas to the crime of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted robbery. He was sentenced to 15 years behind bars with two years of post-prison supervision.

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