Oregon man pleads guilty to gun theft in connection with deputy murder
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — An Oregon man has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison in connection with a stolen gun trafficking scheme that led to the shooting death of the sheriff’s sergeant of Clark County. Jeremy Brown in southwest Washington.
Brian Clement, 51, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court on Tuesday to second-degree burglary and theft of a firearm, The Columbian reported. A charge of unlawful possession of a firearm was dismissed as part of his plea deal.
The plea deal also compels Clement to testify against his co-defendant, Misty Raya. Prosecutors say he helped her break into a storage unit to steal firearms and thousands of cartridges.
Prosecutors say one of the stolen weapons was used by Raya’s brother-in-law, Guillermo Raya Leon, to shoot Brown while working undercover on July 23, 2021 at an apartment complex in the east of Vancouver.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Jessica Smith said during Tuesday’s hearing that Clement was not directly involved in Brown’s death, but Clement’s actions set off a series of events leading up to it. She said he helped Raya break into the safes inside the storage unit to access weapons and ammunition.
Defense attorney Kari Reardon said that under different circumstances she likely would have asked Judge John Fairgrieve to sentence Clement to drug treatment court because he had relapsed at the time.
Clement apologized to the Brown family on Tuesday and said he would not have been involved had he known someone would be killed.
“As a former military police officer, my heart goes out to the family,” Clément said.
Fairgrieve ordered the agreed-upon 90-month sentence and acknowledged the compromises prosecutors have made to secure cooperative agreements and stronger cases against those charged directly with Brown’s murder. He also acknowledged that Clement had shown remorse for his role.
Investigators say Raya Leon admitted to shooting Brown, 46, as the detective sat in an unmarked police SUV.
Detectives were following Raya Leon, her brother, Abran Raya Leon and her brother’s wife, Misty Raya that day as part of an investigation into the theft of firearms and ammunition from the storage unit.
Court records indicate Misty Raya’s friend Lani Kraabell was helping them find buyers for the stolen guns when Guillermo Raya Leon shot Brown.
Kraabell pleaded guilty in June to second-degree manslaughter in connection with Brown’s death and also agreed to cooperate with criminal cases against his co-defendants. She was sentenced to six years in prison.
Raya Leon pleaded not guilty first degree aggravated murder and other charges. Misty Raya has pleaded not guilty to burglary, identity theft and multiple counts of theft of firearms.