Accused cop killer hears from officer's family at psych hearing

Accused cop killer hears from officer's family at psych hearing
Chris Kilcullen's widow Kristie held up photos of her late husband, hoping to show the human side of her slain husband.

SALEM, Ore. - The family of a police motorcycle patrol officer shot dead by a mentally ill woman addressed a state board - and the accused killer - about the suspect's future Wednesday.

The Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board met Wednesday to discuss the future of Cheryl Kidd.

Kidd shot and killed Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen on April 22, 2011.

She was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, and has since been held at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

The state board decided Kidd should undergo an evaluation to deem whether she should remain at the state hopsital - or qualifies to live in a secure residential treatment facility.

In a criminal proceeding, the family of the victim are allowed to address the court with what is known as a victim impact statement.

The Kilcullens have never had that chance before this hearing.

Chris's widow Kristie held up photos of her late husband, hoping to show the human side of her slain husband.

Holding up photo of Chris and his daughter, Kristie said, "She cries when she's in the grocery store and hears another little girl say 'daddy daddy.' She cries when she sees another little girl on her daddy's shoulders because that's what they used to do. She wants nothing more than to have a daddy."

"All I can think about is what Chris is missing," said John Kilcullen, the officer's father. "He doesn't get to see what a wonderful young woman she's become."

Officer Kilcullen's stepfather Randy Lodge recalled going to identify the body and being told not to touch him, and wishing he could give him one last hug.


What's next
? An evaluation

While the statements were directed at the board, it was the first time the victims were able to communicate with Kidd in the same room.

A person deemed to be an "extremely mentally ill person" can either be placed at the state hospital, where Kidd has been held, or at a secure residential treatment facility.

On Wednesday, the board ordered an evaluation to see what would be best for Kidd.

Officer Kilcullen's father said he expected such a review. "I was hoping that decision would come some time in the future rather than today, but the actual ruling did not come as a surprise," John Kilcullen said.

Nothing about Kidd's care was decided Wednesday. This initial hearing and subsequent decision was simply to allow for an evaluation.

If the evaluation of both Kidd and the secure facility is found to be a good match, it is then up to the district attorney if they want to object to that.

The hearing Wednesday was only one step in a process and doesn't guarantee anything, but it puts the possibility of an secure residential facility out there.

"We all are going to struggle to understand how someone who's too insane to stand trial for the senseless murder of a police officer is safe enough to release from the Oregon State Hospital," said David Schwartz, a deputy district attorney for Lane County.