Suspected Portland-area serial killer with Baker City ties pleads not guilty

By on Monday, June 10th, 2024 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

MULTNOMAH COUNTY — A man with a criminal history in Baker County and is now accused of killing three women last year in the Portland area has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Jesse Lee Calhoun made his first Multnomah County court appearance on Thursday, June 6 and entered a plea of not guilty. 

He’s charged with three counts each of second-degree murder and second-degree abuse of a corpse in connection with the deaths of 24-year-old Charity Lynn Perry, 31-year-old Bridget Leanne Webster and 32-year-old Joanna Speaks. The bodies of the three women were found in wooded or secluded areas near Portland in April 2023. 

Two other women were also found dead under suspicious circumstances in the same time period: Kristin Smith and Ashley Real. Calhoun has not been charged with any crimes in connection with those two deaths.

The 39-year-old Calhoun was arrested in June 2023 on unrelated parole warrants and incarcerated at the Snake River Correctional Center in Ontario. He was indicted for murder on May 17, just a few weeks before he was scheduled to be released.

Elkhorn Media Group confirmed in 2023 that he also served time from January 2009 through January 2011 in Baker County for fourth-degree assault. 

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office stated the following last year:

“The Baker County Sheriff’s Office confirms that according to their records there were police contacts and several arrests for Jesse Calhoun in Baker City from 2003 to 2008.”

Court records obtained by Elkhorn Media Group show that Calhoun was arrested in 2008 for assaulting and kidnapping a woman in Baker City. A subsequent plea deal was made where he pled guilty to the assault charge and agreed to the two-year sentence in exchange for the kidnapping charge to be dropped.