OR - Nancy Bergeson, 57, Portland, 24 Nov 2009

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Missizzy, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    "An assistant federal public defender was found dead in her Southwest Portland home, the apparent victim of a homicide, Portland police said late Wednesday.

    Nancy S. Bergeson, 57, a well-liked attorney, vigorously defended bank robbers, con men and drug dealers during about 18 years with the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Portland. She was found dead Tuesday, a day after she represented a man in a tax evasion conspiracy case in U.S. District Court here."

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2009/11/assistant_us_public_defender_f.html

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2009/11/slaying_of_federal_public_defe.html

    http://www.koinlocal6.com/news/loca...l-Public-Defender/hQmLeLqzcE2jB56Tq6OuDg.cspx

    Our family has a strong interest in the way this case plays out. Ms. Bergeson has a close friend, Lisa Maxfield, also a Portland attorney. Ms. Maxfield is quoted in numerous articles talking about her friend. According to the quotes, they obviously traveled together and spent a lot of time together. They planned to spend Thanksgiving together.

    Ms. Maxfield, is the attorney who defended the young man who raped our eight youngest children.

    This is a tragic loss and very frightening.
     
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  3. Texas Mist

    Texas Mist Retired WS Staff

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    Just seconds ago I was reading about this on msnbc.com.....this is very tragic & yes very frightening!!

    I hope they catch whoever did this very soon!!
     
  4. scandi

    scandi New Member

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    Hi Missizzy, Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It is such a sad case, that someone so serious about her job and dedicated to making sure those who can't afford an attorney still are due a fair trial, is now tragically taken away.

    I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your children and do hope they received justice. I know that is not a cure all for what they had to go thru. But it is a start. xox
     
  5. Kimster

    Kimster Former Member

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    This is so terrible! I hope they catch the perp TODAY!
     
  6. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/nov/28/family-ore-public-defender-didnt-speak-of-fear/

    "Family members say public defender Nancy Bergeson never expressed fears about retribution from her clients. And, they say, she was strong and fit, so it's hard for them to believe she was overpowered. Bergeson was found dead at 57 on Tuesday, strangled in her Portland home. Authorities say they don't have a suspect. They say the house wasn't ransacked."

    Just to be on the safe side, I emailed our DA and local LE to make sure they knew about this crime. Portland is 300 miles away from here but too close for comfort with a crime like this. The DA who handled our case has had many scares over the years. She and I have remained close. I respect her greatly and attribute her hard work to the fact that our children's rapist did 10 years.

    I've done some research on Ms. Bergeson today and she truly was an amazing person. Her entire family is involved in politics, education, or law (mostly in California). Nancy is known for her work with needy kids and animal rescue.

    I always cringe when I hear posters being disrespectful of defense attorneys. I happen to really respect their work. Without them, our system wouldn't work. Nancy's friend, Ms. Maxfield, gave me the work-over of my life on that witness stand. I think I was up there for seven hours. Without her hard work, though, the case might have fallen apart on appeal. I credit her (even though I "despised" her at the time) for a job very well done. Even though she tried her best to discredit and trip up our kids, she was always respectful of them.
     
  7. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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  8. Texas Mist

    Texas Mist Retired WS Staff

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    Either google is broken tonite, or it's rare that a public defender is murdered...maybe this isn't related to her work life at all.

    Can anyone else recall or find a case where a public defender was murdered?

    I'm wondering if this was someone else who knew her & was angry about something really petty....the strangling seems so personal -- maybe even unplanned -- like it could have happened during an argument.
     
  9. KaylynnCouture

    KaylynnCouture New Member

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    This is so sad. TexasMist, I can't recall another case where a public defender was murdered..and I tried searching too, with no luck.
     
  10. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    The man whom she had just defended, was found guilty of federal tax evasion. He, however, said she was his greatest advocate and that she gave it her all. I think he knew he'd be found guilty. I don't think he's a suspect.

    I, too, wonder about something personal. From what I've read, she died right at her laptop. What was she working on? A little neighbor girl, who walked her dog everyday, found the body. It was really thought to be a natural death as there seemed to be no struggle. This sounds so trite but it sounds like an Agatha Christie play. I don't want to trivialize her passing though, not at all.

    I wonder if it wasn't a love affair gone bad or a case of mistaken identity. The area she lived is very bucolic and neighbors knew each other. She was a very well liked and respected woman. Why did the dog not attempt to protect her? Why was she still at the laptop? It sounds as if she looked up and recognized someone and kept typing away. And then she was dead. Why?
     
  11. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    Just a thought. What happened to the dog? Ms. Bergeson was known for her animals. I've seen numerous comments describing her as always have a "dog in tow". She was working at her laptop on the day of her death. The reports state a young girl who walked Ms. Bergeson's dog everyday, found the body.

    I've got a few questions about this. First, Ms. Bergeson was an extremely fit athlete. She was an active member of a Dragon Boat crew, she ran, she worked out. Why would she have a child walk her dog? I guess it's entirely possible that she allowed the girl to walk the dog because the girl enjoyed it. That sounds like her.

    However, is the dog OK? Did the dog try to defend her mistress? Did the murderer hurt the dog? Just wondering. Has anyone seen this addressed?
     
  12. chicagofa13

    chicagofa13 New Member

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    First comment is very interesting.

    http://www.truecrimereport.com/2009/11/nancy_bergeson_federal_public.php

    There is much talk around about Nancy being murdered for what she knew about jury tampering in the following case:

    "Unfortunately, one of the co-defendant lawyers made too much noise
    along those lines before she left the Portland courthouse on Monday.
    The next day she was found dead in her home by strangulation. Folks,
    while there is a slim chance that her murder was not related to the
    case, we have it on good authority from a retired law enforcement
    officer (LEO) with over 10 years homicide experience, that there
    is a very high probability that her murder WAS not just related to
    her employment, but specifically related to this case.

    ...snip
     
  13. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    Four years before we moved to Oregon, Michael Franke was murdered at the Salem capitol. If you ever want to read a murder mystery that is stranger than fiction, check out these links. This crime came to our attention during our trial in 1999. Even at that time there was talk about corruption at a very high level.

    [ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Francke[/ame]

    http://wweek.com/story.php?story=5772

    http://wweek.com/story.php?story=5748

    Two years ago, there was another huge shake up in the Oregon Youth Authority (where our children's rapist was held for 10 years). Because we're in the far southern part of the state (300 miles from Salem and Portland), these issues aren't in our face everyday. It sure is curious, though, given the murder of Nancy Bergeson.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1217474705246870.xml&coll=7
     
  14. angelmom

    angelmom The love stays...forever in our hearts

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    BBM...I don't know, but when I read it I assumed that it was due to her work hours. Maybe the girl came over after school to walk the dog so it wouldn't be alone in the house for such long hours.

    Also, if Ms. Bergeson often got home very late/after dark, she might not have been comfortable walking in her neighborhood for a long way. She might have just wanted the dog to get a good exercise walk but was at work when it was light out.

    That didn't strike me as weird at all. Especially since I assume the girl had a key, so she must have walked the dog at least sometimes when Ms. B wasn't at home.
     
  15. Texas Mist

    Texas Mist Retired WS Staff

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    MissIzzy & Chicagofa -- I got goosebumps reading those articles & the comment at truecrimereport.

    They caused me to rethink this -- maybe it was an assassination....I'm wondering if maybe she wasn't actually strangled ( as in manual or some kind of ligature) but killed by a deadly chokehold from behind while she was sitting at her laptop.

    That would explain why they initially thought she could have died from natural causes - no bruising or marks from hands or a ligature...and if it *was* a chokehold from someone sneaking up behind her, that sounds much more like someone who had experience at this -- and not just someone who she may have argued with who just lost it, IYKWIM.

    I wish we were hearing more about progress on this case & that The Powers That Be are not working to sweep it under the rug.
     
  16. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    I so appreciate your saying this. I feel the same way - criminal defense attorneys have my unending respect and admiration because, as you point out, our system (and even with its faults it is, bar none, the best legal system in the world) would never work. You can vigorously defend the worst among us and still be working for the side of good.

    My prayers for this woman and all who loved her.
     
  17. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    My 9-year-old walks neighbor's dogs - he's been doing that since he was 8.
     
  18. Missizzy

    Missizzy New Member

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    I know, Texas Mist, every time I read about the Franke murder, I get goose bumps too. It's interesting that when you move to a new state, you just don't know the history of scandals and high profile crimes. It takes a while to learn them and to mull them over.

    I was so impressed with the way the Seattle Times handled the awful crimes of Maurice Clemmons. They've been on top of things. Why is the Oregonian and the powers that be slumping along (IMO)? I'd think because Ms. Bergeson's mother is high profile in California, and because Nancy, herself, seemed to be so respected something would be happening.

    I decided to do some checking on dogs, doors and other details. I found this:

    http://newsfeedresearcher.com/data/articles_n49/bergeson-portland-nancy.html

    "The front door was unlocked, but that may not have been unusual, according to the reports. Nancy Bergeson's body was discovered by a woman who walks her dogs daily."

    So here we a "woman" and multiple dogs.



    http://www.scpr.org/news/2009/11/28/nancy-bergeson-found-strangled-portland-home/

    "Nancy Bergeson, 57, was found Tuesday afternoon lying face down in her dining room by a girl who had stopped by to walk Bergeson's golden retriever...... "Authorities told the Oregonian there was no forced sign of entry, and the house was not ransacked. The front door was unlocked, but investigators were told that was not unusual."

    In this article, from her hometown paper in Newport Beach, CA, we have a "girl" and a golden retriever. We also find Nancy lying in the dining room and still with the door unlocked.



    http://www.kgw.com/news/local/Famil...-pleads-for-help-to-find-killer-78343292.html

    "Nancy Bergeson was found dead in her Southwest Portland home by a neighbor who had stopped by to walk her golden retriever."

    So, the girl or woman is also a neighbor. I don't find it unusual that the door was unlocked. Many of Portland's older and nicer neighborhoods are very safe. It doesn't surprise me that the door would be unlocked if Nancy was home. However, most people lock the door when they leave. Either the neighbor girl/woman had a key or knew the door would be unlocked.



    http://www.quatloos.com/Q-Forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&p=82147

    "She was found dead in her Portland Oregon home at her laptop keyboard in her pajamas on Tuesday."

    This is one of the only places I've found where she was noted to be at her laptop. And in her pajamas....early in the morning? Did someone spend the night? This is from a forum concerning the case Nancy had just worked on. A very interesting forum IMO.




    http://www.crimenews2000.com/news.php?extend.2101

    "Oregon state medical examiner Dr. Karen Gunson on Thursday said the lack of obvious injury made it difficult for a deputy to recognize that Nancy Bergeson was strangled.......About 16 hours after the body was discovered, homicide detectives were called to the medical examiner's office and Bergeson's home to start a criminal investigation......"Subtle injuries can be missed," Gunson said. "They might be internal, not external. If it's a benign scene and we don't have a lot of injury on the person, that's why we do autopsies."......Bergeson was found face down in the dining room of her Southwest Portland home about 3 p.m. Nov. 24. A girl who had stopped at the house to walk Bergeson's golden retriever, Bodie, saw her through the front window..."
     
  19. panthera

    panthera Retired WS Staff

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    It doesn't sound to me like her client was the perp either, unless he also had a history of violent behavior in addition to the tax evasion. His strongest advocate wouldn't be the target of his wrath in this instance, imo. I'm curious though who had access to her home, or if someone could've gotten in (while she was out) and been waiting for the opportunity to kill her? :waitasec: MOO
     
  20. chicagofa13

    chicagofa13 New Member

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    OT: Wow, so weird you would mention that case!! I was completely fascinated with the Francke murder. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe conspiracies exist. Does that make sense?? I guess I'm trying not to sound like a crazy hermit, lol. Growing up in Oregon I was also into anything to do with serial killers, since they seem to like the Northwest for their ummm, activities. :furious:
     
  21. chicagofa13

    chicagofa13 New Member

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    She was a federal public defender, not state or county. So I'd imagine her work with really violent criminals was minimal?? Most federal crimes, unless you cross state lines during a murder/kidnapping, etc., are white collar. Or am I way off base.
     

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