Charges pending for Milton-Freewater shooting suspect

George W. Craigen has not signed an extradition waiver that would send him to Oregon.

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WALLA WALLA - Charges have yet to be filed against George W. Craigen, 49, in connection with the shooting death of a Milton-Freewater man.

Craigen is suspected of killing Cecil "Rob" Carter at Carter's home Friday morning. Craigen was arrested in Walla Walla on Sunday on tips from the public following an extensive man hunt.

Craigen, however, is being held in the Walla Walla County Jail on Umatilla County bench warrants for allegedly failing to appear at a pretrial conference hearing on a number of pending criminal matters. Bail was set at over $2 million.

Umatilla County District Attorney Daniel Primus said there is no rush to file charges in the murder investigation.

"He's not going anywhere," Primus said.

Primus added that waiting will allow the District Attorney's office to investigate the most appropriate charges to file related to the shooting. Charges could be filed within a week.

Craigen likely will remain in the Walla Walla County Jail for the time being. As of this morning, Craigen was not willing to sign an extradition waiver to Oregon, according to local attorney Richard Wernette, who was appointed Tuesday to speak with Craigen about the matter.

Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle wrote in an email message today that if he doesn't receive a waiver from Craigen next week, he will start the process for requesting a governor's warrant to force transfer of Craigen to Oregon.

The primary issue surrounding extradition is true identity -- whether the person to be transferred to another state is actually the person being sought.

Primus said, "We're going to have to go through an extradition hearing."

The process could take weeks, and will require signatures from the governors of Washington and Oregon.

Craigen has refused to waive extradition in the past. When he was arrested in Umatilla County in May of last year, Craigen was wanted as a fugitive in connection with an assault case in Hawaii.

"He refused extradition there as well," Primus said. "It's the same exact thing."

In that case, Hawaiian officials did not complete the required paperwork, leaving Craigen eligible to be released on bail, set by Umatilla County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Hill at $270,000 in November. In Oregon, only 10 percent of the total bail is required to be posted for a defendant to be released.

Craigen was able to bail himself out by selling his home to a Milton-Freewater area man.

When Craigen was apprehended Sunday in Walla Walla, he was a passenger in a pickup driven by Jason T. Stiller, 41, of 85205 Highway 339, Milton-Freewater, officials said.

Stiller also was arrested at the scene and was formally charged Tuesday in Walla Walla County Superior Court with first-degree rendering criminal assistance to Craigen and driving under the influence.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326. Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.


View a timeline of the events stemming from the shooting death of Cecil "Rob" Carter

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