A man already facing several felony charges just had a few more added to the list after he reportedly made a brazen escape from an Oregon courthouse during a trial break last month.
On February 27, the jury-selection trial for Edi Villalobos, 28, was underway. Villalobos had been accused of fatally stabbing 33-year-old Artemio Guzman-Olvera on April 10, 2021, in Cornelius, Oregon, about 25 miles west of Portland. Later that same day, Villalobos also allegedly stabbed 26-year-old Saul Antonio Ramirez Aguirre in Wilsonville, about 35 miles southeast of Cornelius, and left him in critical condition. For this alleged spree of violence, Villalobos was on trial for second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree burglary, unlawful use of a weapon, reckless driving, and reckless endangerment.
At approximately 11 a.m. on February 27, the jury-selection proceedings were temporarily paused for a morning break, and while the jury was out of the room, Villalobos was placed in hand and leg restraints and monitored by two deputies, who were assigned to keep guard of him throughout his trial. Per Oregon law, defendants are never held in handcuffs during official trial proceedings, so as not to prejudice the jury against them.
Just before the jury had returned to the courtroom to resume the proceedings, the deputies once again removed Villalobos’ restraints in accordance with Oregon law. Moments later, the defendant apparently made a show of pulling out his chair when, suddenly, he leapt over his chair and bolted for the door while the two deputies scrambled after him in pursuit. Courthouse surveillance then caught Villalobos apparently running down the hallway and heading out a “staff only” exit into the great, wide beyond.
According to a press release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsboro Police Department and the Forest Grove Police Department then initiated a massive manhunt, which included canines, drones, and even a “reverse 911 call” to alert all area residents to shelter in place. Though police spotted the suspect twice while he was on the lam and engaged him in a foot pursuit, he continued to evade capture — at least for a short while.
Two hours later, a resident at an area apartment building called police to report that someone had been attempting to break into the vacant apartment directly beneath him or her. When officers arrived at the apartment, they found Villalobos hiding under a blanket in a cupboard, the sheriff’s report stated. He was returned to Washington County Jail without further incident.
Villalobos’ murder trial has since been rescheduled for September. In addition to the original charges, he will now face two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of second-degree escape.
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