Man pleads guilty to murder, conspiracy charges

MEDFORD, Ore. – A man pleaded “guilty” to his part in a bizarre murder case in Medford.

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.

On October 3, police released further details about their investigation, including the names of the victim.

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.

On October 5, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said 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.

The case is still pending against Jones and Friar’s daughter Ellen Rose Friar, who is being charged as an adult.

No further details will be released.

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