Prosecution rests in trial of former Klamath County Sheriff Skrah

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The trial of former Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah wrapped up its third day on Wednesday, with testimony from a former deputy, and two current deputies.

Former Sheriff Skrah faces 7 misdemeanor criminal charges related to excessive use of force and official misconduct.

Wednesday’s testimony focused on an alleged incident from January of 2014.

Skrah is accused of hitting Jason Charles, a criminal mischief suspect who later claimed to have been thrown from a moving vehicle.

Former Deputy Jason Weber testified Skrah and Charles had been sparring verbally. “But at a certain point, the Sheriff strikes Charles, this side, with a closed fist.”

Weber said Charles had no visible injuries. “He laughed it off, and said something like, ‘Is that all you have, old man.”

Deputy Jesse Ginestar agreed with Weber’s account. “Was it a closed fist, or open hand that you saw?”

“Closed fist,” answered Weber.

Deputy West Packer also testified he saw Skrah strike Charles. “Strike Mr. Charles on the left side of his head with an open hand, and I saw him hit him twice.”

Former Deputy Weber testified he later confronted the Sheriff, and told him his reaction was “inappropriate.”

“What was his response to that?” asked Assistant Prosecutor Dan Wendel. “He apologized, that he lost his temper, and it wouldn’t happen again.” answered Weber.

The prosecution rested their case late Wednesday afternoon, following an extensive discussion on use of force.

Skrah is accused of using excessive force against two other suspects in unrelated incidents.

Skrah could face up to a year in jail if convicted.

The six-member jury trial is scheduled to continue Thursday.

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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