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Pendleton man indicted in Cloverdale murder case

By John Hendricks
Alicia Inns
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:09:44 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 06 2013 07:26:23 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's John Hendricks reports on the latest in the Burdick murder case

CLOVERDALE, Ore. -

A Deschutes County grand jury has indicted Joshua Leo Jokinen on a murder charge in last Saturday’s killing of Cloverdale horse breeder Carolyn Burdick, District Attorney Patrick Flaherty said Friday.

The indictment alleges that Jokinen was on supervision for an earlier criminal offense and that Burdick, 78, “as in a particularly vulnerable state when the defendant murdered her,” Flaherty said in a news release.

Jokinen, 30, remains held without bail at the county jail in Bend and is scheduled for arraignment on the indictment next Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.. Flaherty said he will ask the judge that Jokinen continue to be held without bail.

During Jokinen's first court appearance, on Tuesday, Flaherty said Jokinen killed Burdick by hitting her on the head with a shovel.

Jokinen appeared in Deschutes County Circuit Judge Roger DeHoog's court by video link from the county jail.

Burdick's body was found late last Saturday at her Cloverdale home by a friend who had come to check on her.

Flaherty said an autopsy conducted Monday at the state Medical Examiner's Office near Portland determined Burdick died of "blunt force trauma" to the head.

Making the case that no bail be set, Flaherty told the judge, "In this case. the evidence shows that he killed the victim with a shovel."

A grand jury will assemble Wednesday to review evidence in the case and decide on charges in a formal indictment.

Flaherty told NewsChannel 21 more details will be available in the case when Jokinen returns to court.

Just 45 minutes before Burdick's body was found, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies say Jokinen called Jefferson County 911 dispatch, saying he might have killed her, Sheriff Larry Blanton said.

Neighbors remembered Burdick Monday as a kind-hearted woman.

"She would go out of her way to do something or help somebody," said neighbor and friend Vernie Merritt.

Merritt remembers her neighbor and good friend as a giver.

"No matter night or day, if you needed something, Carolyn was there," she said.

Carolyn raised Arabian horses at her home on Kent Road near Sisters. As an animal lover herself, Vernie says the two hit it off after just three years of being neighbors.

"I didn't know her that long, but I felt like I'd known her for years," she said.

Now, every time Vernie looks at those animals, she'll be reminded of memories with Carolyn.

"She hadn't seen the chickens that she gave me since they were really small, and I said, 'Come on, Carolyn, you've got to see the Dixie chicks.' And we went out back and she said, 'Oh Vernie, they are going to be laying eggs soon.' I'm just glad she got to see her chickens finally before, and she was so happy."  

But just as the animals remind her of the good times, Vernie says she can't help but look at them and wish her good friend was still there with her.

"I was patting one of the horses, and I couldn't stop crying. It's just like this big hole inside me, and it's like you know what happened, but did it really happen? Is she really gone?"

As the investigation continues , Vernie isn't looking for answers, she's simply trying to cope.

"I have peace inside me, because that's what kind of neighbor she was. And I'll always be grateful for that, and she will always really be in my heart."

Carolyn's business partner, another good friend, said they are working on organizing a celebration of life for her some time in the next month.

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