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Shady Cove Murder Suspect Testifies: Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Shane Ryan Michael Wayman testifies before his defense attorney, Michael Bertholf, during his manslaughter trial Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court. Closing arguments will be on Monday. [Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune]

The man accused of killing 20-year-old Destiny Anne Finch in 2019 took the stand Friday to describe what he said were his thoughts and emotions leading up to her death.

Shane Ryan’s defense attorney Michael Wayman brought in a forensic psychologist to provide an expert diagnosis Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court, while a deputy prosecutor pressed Wayman about key omissions in his 2019 confession to a detective of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, especially because Wayman initially. denied involvement in the 2016 death of his aunt, Malina Nickel.

Wayman is on trial for second-degree murder and second-degree abuse of a corpse for allegedly killing Finch with a baseball bat on November 11, 2020, as well as charges of first-degree criminal mistreatment and abuse of a corpse. second degree of a corpse charges accusing him of leaving Nickel in the woods during an opiate overdose in November 2016 instead of getting her help.

Defense attorney Michael Bertholf presented evidence of extreme emotional disturbance. If 10 of the 12 jurors agree, the sentence would be reduced from second-degree murder to first-degree manslaughter.

Wayman testified on the stand that he had had a major argument with Finch and her fiance, Tristan Walker. Wayman said he had just lost his job at a hemp farm the day before the murder, his cat was missing, his car had no insurance and he had overdrawn his bank account by more than $300.

He returned home with an eviction notice from Walker and Finch the next day. Wayman testified that the events set off a spiral of emotions. He thought and ruminated that he would soon be homeless, with the money he owed to his bank, how could he not take care of his dog.

“All these thoughts started going through my head,” Wayman testified.

When questioned by Bertholf, Wayman said that Walker and Finch “were his closest friends,” and he suddenly felt abandoned by them. For hours he sat in his room pondering his problems and thoughts that he had nowhere else to turn.

“I felt like my friends were cutting me out of their lives,” Wayman added.

He went to get water and ran into Finch at the apartment. He said he lost control when he picked up a bat.

He said he didn’t want to kill her. Assistant District Attorney Lucy Durst pressed him.

“Then why did you wrap her up and not call anyone?” Durst asked.

He said he tried, but she died in his arms. When Durst asked how he knew, he said he checked her body for dust and a pulse and found none.

Instead, he dumped her body in the woods, in a similar location to where Nickel’s body was later found.

Durst questioned why he didn’t admit his involvement in his aunt’s death the morning he confessed to JCSO Detective David Seese about Finch, even after Seese asked him about Nickel.

“For me, after three years of lying, it was easy for me to continue the lie,” Wayman said. He came clean a week later.

Durst questioned the similarities between Finch and Nickel’s removal. For example, he had thrown the two victims’ phones out the window.

“You had to be thinking something to get rid of a phone,” Durst said. “Even in a panic, you came up with logical next steps.”

Wayman did not deny.

“What I’m trying to do is give a full account of what happened,” Wayman said, adding that he wanted closure for his family and Finch’s family in both deaths.

“I’m not here to deny what happened,” Wayman added.

Forensic evaluator Dr. Kimberly Rideout testified that she interviewed Wayman several times at Oregon State Hospital. Based on these interviews and Oregon Department of Human Services, school and behavioral health records, she diagnosed him with major depressive disorder, moderate cannabis use disorder, and trauma/stress or related disorder at the time of the homicide.

His record showed a history of violent outbursts and abuse and neglect by his birth mother due to drug use. For example, he was placed in foster care at age 11 after he intentionally set fire to his mother’s curtains.

“It was pervasive and prolonged,” Rideout testified about Wayman’s ongoing childhood trauma.

During childhood, this trauma affects a person’s ability to regulate emotions.

The defense rested its case Friday afternoon, according to Bertholf. Closing arguments in the case are scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Monday.

Contact Web Editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.


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