KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – A Klamath County man is headed to prison for more than six years after pleading guilty to homicide charges.
55-year-old Richard Byron Johnson pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing Benito Devila Sanchez.
The shooting happened in January of 2018 at Sanchez’ home in the Oregon Pines subdivision.
“The individuals involved had been having various disputes with each other, ” explained Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello. “They were neighbors, they were friends, and one thing led to another, and unfortunately, this incident resulted.”
Initially charged with murder, Johnson pleaded guilty to negotiated charges of criminally negligent homicide and first-degree burglary.
Costello commented on the burglary charge: “Mister Johnson entered into the victims home for the purpose of obtaining evidence, and getting rid of evidence.”
The sister of the victim addressed Johnson in court and displayed pictures of her brother.
Johnson was sentenced to 75 months in prison.
If he’d been convicted of murder, the sentence could have been life in prison, with a minimum of 25 years.
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.