DA: Decision on death penalty months away

DA: Decision on death penalty months away
Cheryl Dawn Kidd

EUGENE, Ore. - The woman accused of shooting and killing a Eugene police officer Friday was arraigned Monday on charges of aggravated murder and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.

In the coming months, prosecutors will have to decide whether to pursue one of the punishments for aggravated murder available under the law: the death penalty.

Cheryl Kidd, 56, did not enter a plea at Monday's hearing. She waived a preliminary hearing, and no other court dates are set at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

Police booked Kidd into the Lane County Jail early Saturday morning after she surrendered to officers following a car chase that started in Eugene and ended on backroads outside of Oakridge.

According to police, Kidd ran a red light and failed to stop for Officer Chris Kilcullen, who was working traffic enforcement Friday afternoon on his police motorcycle. Kilcullen caught up to Kidd in Springfield. She is accused of shooting and killing him before speeding off.

The charge of murder against Kidd is considered aggravated because the victim was a police officer. The state appointed a defense attorney with experience handling death penalty cases to represent Kidd since prosecutors could seek the death penalty against Kidd. Other possible penalties for aggravated murder include life with the opportunity for parole after 30 years or life without the chance for parole.

District Attorney Alex Gardner said it was too early to say whether or not his office would seek the death penalty against Kidd. The investigation into her background will take months, and police reports on the incident weren't all in to the DA's office yet as of Monday morning.

Gardner said his office will first ask a grand jury to review the case and determine whether or not the facts support a charge of aggravated murder.

Gordon Mallon of Silverton confirmed to KVAL News on Monday that he had been assigned to be Kidd's lawyer. He said he hasn't talked with her yet, and a public defender stood in on Monday to handle Monday's arraignment as Mallon returned from a trial in The Dalles.

Mallon has represented clients in Lane County Courts, including Richard McAnulty, the father sentenced to life in prison for his role in his step-daughter Jeanette Maples' death. A jury sentenced McAnulty's wife, Angela, to death for torturing her teen daughter to death.