July 14, 2020
Jesse Sowa
Gazette Times                  

An autistic Corvallis man on Monday morning was sentenced to more than 45 years in prison for sexual crimes committed against a girl for roughly four years beginning when she was about 8 years old.

Michael Brian Killion, 37, pleaded guilty to 24 felony counts and was sentenced to a total of 550 months by Judge Joan E. Demarest in Benton County Circuit Court.

The guilty pleas included 10 counts of first-degree sodomy and 12 counts of first-degree sexual penetration, all Class A felonies; one count of first-degree sexual abuse, a Class B felony; and one count of second-degree rape, also a Class B felony.

The Class A crimes, Measure 11 offenses with mandatory minimum sentences, carry a maximum of 25 years in prison, and the Class B crimes a maximum of 10 years. The crimes occurred between 2003 and 2008.

Benton County Chief Deputy District Attorney Ryan Joslin, who prosecuted the case, requested a sentence totaling 25 years. Joslin said Demarest found no basis to step out of the Measure 11 sentence.

“She determined the defendant, while withstanding the mild to moderate autism that he experienced, he was able to form criminal intent to act in a calculated manner to commit the crimes,” Joslin said.

Killion, who knew his victim, has been in the Benton County Jail since his arrest on Aug. 2, 2017. He will be credited for time served. The Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald generally do not name victims in sex abuse cases.

The severity of the crimes allow no potential for early release. Upon release, he will be on post-prison supervision for the rest of his life and must register as a sex offender.

Corvallis lawyer Thomas Hill, Killion’s attorney, asked for leniency in the defendant’s sentencing memorandum submitted before Monday’s hearing.

“Mr. Killion has a pervasive developmental disability, as evidenced by repeated evaluative testing so indicating and his lifelong dependence upon his parents,” Hill said.

Citing analysis of an article in the state Constitution, the memorandum continued: “Imposition of a mandatory prison term would be unconstitutionally disproportionate in light of defendant’s diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, his intellectual disabilities and limitations, his lack of criminal history, and his low risk of recidivism.”

Joslin cited a recent Oregon Supreme Court case stating that when a person has a cognitive or intellectual disability, the sentencing court is supposed to factor in that disability when deciding whether or not to impose mandatory sentences for Measure 11 crimes.

Psychological evaluations were entered into evidence by the defense and discussed in court.

The large number of incidents of the crime were a factor in the sentencing. The victim said the abuse sometimes happened on a weekly basis, Joslin said.

Joslin said part of Demarest’s reasoning in giving Killion a longer sentence was a witness statement that the abuse against the victim and her sisters began in California when the victim was 4 years old and continued for several years.

“I certainly don’t think what the court did was inappropriate,” Joslin said. “She explained herself well and why she reached that conclusion.”

Joslin said Killion’s autism was a consideration in why Joslin asked for a shorter sentence.

Joslin tempered his request after learning the victim wanted Killion to serve prison time but that she didn’t want him to serve a life sentence. She wanted Killion to have the potential to be rehabilitated.

Hill, Killion’s attorney, was not able to talk about the case without Killion’s consent and wasn’t able to gain that consent Tuesday, according to a representative in Hill’s office.

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