Details revealed in bail hearing for accused teen
In an all-day bail hearing on Friday, prosecutors argued that 16-year-old Parish Bennette Jr. should remain in jail with no bail due to strong evidence that he killed 14-year-old Yashanee Vaughn and disposed of the Portland girl’s body, which has not been located.
Homicide detectives suspect Bennette Jr. shot and killed Vaughn in the bedroom of his father’s northeast Portland home on the evening of Saturday, March 19.
A forensic analysis of blood spatter on the floor and wall of the Bennette Jr.’s bedroom indicated that Vaughn was struck or beaten and left on the floor, bleeding profusely, said prosecutors.
The suspected murder weapon, a .38 revolver, passed through at least three people before police recovered it and matched a spent shell casing with a .38-caliber bullet found in Bennette’s house.
The gun also matched the .38 caliber that Bennette Jr. held up in a self- photo taken in front of a mirror on his cell phone the night before the suspected murder, authorities said. Testimony also included a recorded statement of Bennette boasting to a friend that he was a pimp.
Bennette Sr., father of the suspect, returned home from a Tacoma trip March 19 around 7:45 p.m., and told police he witnessed his son going up and down the stairs and coming in and out of his room several times. He also noticed a stench of bleach coming from his son’s room, but he did not enter his room.
Staying at his grandparents’ house after a week-long trip to California and on account of increased suspicions of his involvement with Vaughn, Bennette Jr. described for the first time to his father what happened:
“He described what happened as an accident, that he had a gun, and it went off, and it struck her,” Detective Mark Slater testified, “He said he got rid of her.”
After his father’s girlfriend testified that she urged Bennette Jr. to speak up about Vaughn’s whereabouts, she told police he said, “They won’t go up there. They won’t find here there.”
Police and dogs searched Rocky Butte, an old driving range off Northeast 82nd Avenue, The Grotto hillside, grassy areas near the I-84/I-205 interchange, and behind six Walmart stores in and near Portland, but found no substantial evidence.
During the bail hearing, Bennette Jr.’s defense attorney Thomas MacNair argued that the prosecution lacked “a real motive” and that after their initial interview with Bennette Jr. in which he denied any involvement in the death, police let him go.
The bail hearing will continue in early July.