Grand jury: Coos Bay man charged with murder of grandfather, attempted murder of brother

Coos County Court House (File/SBG image)

COQUILLE, Ore. – A Coos Bay man was in court Thursday facing charges related to the stabbing death of a man on Sunday.

Thursday afternoon, a Coos County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging James Jay Thomasson with various crimes stemming from "the incident that occurred last Sunday at 1222 Minnesota in Coos Bay,” Coos County District Attorney R. Paul Frasier said.

The indictment charges one count of murder, alleging Thomasson “intentionally caused the death of his grandfather, Elmer Dennis,” the DA said.

Additionally, Thomasson was charged with one count of attempted murder, alleging Thomasson “intentionally attempted to cause the death of his brother, Christopher Thomasson,” the DA’s report said, adding that Christopher Thomasson was not injured in the attempt.

Other charges included two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and one count of menacing.

“Murder is an unclassified felony under Oregon law which carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment and also requiring a defendant to serve 25 years before being eligible for parole,” Frasier said. “Attempted murder is a Class A felony, with a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, and a Measure 11 offense requiring the court to impose a minimum sentence of 120 months in prison.”

The DA explained unlawful use of a weapon as a Class C felony with a maximum possible sentence for five years in prison. “The actual sentence for unlawful use of a weapon would be governed by the Oregon Sentencing Guidelines. Menacing is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 364 days in the county jail.”

James Thomasson is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Monday, December 18, at 8:30 a.m. in Coos County Circuit Court.

An autopsy was performed Wednesday on the body of Elmer Dennis and the “manner of death was classified as Homicide,” Frasier said, adding the cause of death was due to multiple stab wounds to the head, neck, chest and abdomen of Dennis.

“Police have recovered a knife which at this time is believed to be the weapon used in the crimes described in the indictment,” the DA said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Coos Bay Police Department.

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