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Man accused of Medford Tiki Lodge slaying maintains 'not guilty' plea

Justin Graham-Yaeger made a brief appearance in court on Wednesday, where his lawyer entered a plea of 'not guilty.'

Posted: Jun 12, 2019 2:54 PM
Updated: Jun 12, 2019 3:05 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Justin Graham-Yaeger, the man indicted by a grand jury in the murder of 23-year-old Sierra Clemens at the Tiki Lodge in May, made a brief appearance before a Jackson County judge on Wednesday.

Sheriff's Office personnel escorted Graham-Yaeger into the court room — his arms unfettered as he shook the hand of his attorney, Michael Curtis. He and Curtis exchanged a few murmured words at the beginning and end of the short hearing, but Graham-Yaeger was otherwise quiet and seemingly calm.

Curtis spoke with Judge Lisa Greif and entered a plea of "not guilty" on his client's behalf. Judge Greif then set a pre-trial conference date for August 7.

The grand jury indictment that came down on May 10 charged Graham-Yaeger with aggravated murder, murder, and robbery in the first degree. The defendant's plea on Wednesday means that he currently maintains his innocence on all three counts.

An autopsy found that Clemens had received multiple stab wounds and died in the bathroom of her room at the Tiki Lodge motel in Medford, amid signs of a struggle. Medford Police said that their K9, Kylo, then led officers to a nearby dumpster outside of the motel — where Graham-Yaeger was found hiding inside.

If Graham-Yaeger is found guilty, he could face the death penalty. At the time the crime was committed, he was on post-prison supervision.

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