Clemency For Portland Xmas Murderer

In 2005 just before Christmas, 54-year-old Dale Crittendon Rost III was tied up and brutally murdered in his home. His daughters still remember the awful details of that day. The family of a murder victim is making a tearful plea to the governor not to grant a woman, who pleaded guilty in that case, clemency. Gov. Kate Brown is considering clemency for one of the suspects in the heartless murder of their father two days before Christmas 17 years ago.

Lynley Janet Rayburn and her then-boyfriend Gerard “AJ” Smith went out on the early morning of Dec. 23, 2005 – armed with the rifle and high on meth, according to court documents. Both were convicted of robbery and murder after killing Dale Rost III. “They walked in and they stripped my dad naked. They tied his hands behind his back, they made sure they had his debit cards and various cards with his pin number. Then, they shot him in the head,” his daughter Kendra Pettit said.

“I was the one that found my dad how they left him,” daughter Sarah Olson said. “I had my wedding without my dad, I had three kids without my dad there to be their grandfather, it’s all these things we live with every day that we had taken away from us,” Olson said. 

Lynley Rayburn did not pull the trigger, but still received a sentence of life in prison for her role. The family says she’s now submitted a request for clemency, something they say should be denied. “The reality is, in the state of Oregon, the criminals have become the victims, and the victims have become nothing more than collateral damage,” Steve Doell, president of Crime Victims United of Oregon, said.

The petition appears to have been the work of a group of students at the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland. They sent a 112-page letter to the governor describing Rayburn’s troubled childhood and alleged attempts to improve her life behind bars and helped her file an April 2021 application for executive clemency. Brown also attended Lewis and Clark Law.