Man faces murder charge after allegedly beating wife to death
Portland police arrested a 28-year-old Portland man after an hours-long stand-off at an apartment complex where officers responded to a domestic disturbance call that allegedly led to the death of a young woman.
Robert L. West was booked in the Multnomah County Jail Monday evening, Oct. 2, on a murder charge. The victim of the homicide was his wife, 26-year-old Lila F. Streeter, of Portland. The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined Tuesday that she died of homicidal violence after being beaten to death.
Police arrived at the apartment in the Alderwood Court Apartments, 17200 block of Southeast Alder Street, after receiving a domestic disturbance call from Streeter's sister, who was concerned West had hurt Streeter. According to the probable cause affidavit, when the sister called the apartment, West answered. The sister said he sounded "distraught and upset," and wouldn't put Streeter on the phone, so she called the police.
Officers arrived to conduct a welfare check a little after 2:30 a.m. Monday. Upon arriving, according to the affidavit, officers saw blood in on the floor and walls of the apartment, and heard a "muffled cry or whimpering, and a male voice coming from the upstairs portion of the apartment."
According to the affidavit, officers planned and executed a breach of the front door, which had been locked. Once inside the apartment, West appeared on the top of the stairs and asked the officers to leave. According to officers, West told them, "If you come in there will be problems," and "the only way this will end is if someone dies."
The Portland Police Bureau closed Southeast Alder Street between Southeast 170th Drive and Southeast 174th Avenue. Alder Elementary School was also closed Monday because of the incident.
The Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) was activated to deal with the situation. After several attempts to get West to come outside, they entered the apartment and took him into custody. Streeter was found in the bedroom, where medics pronounced her deceased.
Investigators spoke with a neighbor who saw the couple outside of the apartment around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. In the affidavit, the neighbor said he saw what appeared to be West punching Streeter, and reported hearing Streeter yell for it to stop.
According to the affidavit, there was a lot of blood in the apartment, and Streeter had many traumatic injuries. The state medical examiner determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to her head and body.
Court documents indicate that West said he's seen a doctor in the past for mental health counseling, that he hears voices and needs medication.
On Monday afternoon Streeter's family and friends gathered in mourning at the school.
This incident comes as the country marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, recognized every October. Agencies and nonprofit organizations wear purple, the color of the campaign, and try to raise awareness of domestic violence warning signs and where to get help if you are a victim