Brian Bement was convicted in 2012, but he finally gets a new trial after an appeal overturned that conviction.
A man who was convicted of murdering a Tigard doctor in 2010, and whose conviction was later overturned, is getting a new trial in Washington County Circuit Court.
Brian Bement, 54, was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 after being linked to the death of David Greenspan, 44, a naturopathic doctor practicing in Tigard.
Greenspan was found slumped in his car at the Methodist Cemetery on Northwest Cornelius-Schefflin Road on March 14, 2010. He had been shot twice in the head and once in the neck.
Bement did not deny shooting Greenspan, but said it was in self-defense. Bement argued that the two were business partners, with Greenspan funding Bement’s heroin operation. Greenspan would pay Bement money for drugs, which he would then return to the streets.
Bement said Greenspan regularly used methamphetamine around this time and became increasingly paranoid. He says Greenspan suspected employees at his GoodHealth clinic on Hampton Street of stealing money from him.
On the night Greenspan died, Bement says the doctor tried to steal the $20,000 he was counting on the back seat as they met at the cemetery to split the profits.
Bement says the two men got into a fight and the gun fell from Greenspan’s hands. Bement says he then lit it on Greenspan in self-defense and left the scene with the money hidden in a briefcase.
In 2017, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that Bement should get a new trial because Washington County Circuit Court Judge Rick Knapp did not allow key evidence. .
In his appeal, Bement and his lawyers argued that a series of emails sent between him and Greenspan in 2009 and 2010 showed the latter’s deteriorating mental state and growing paranoia. Not allowing them to be listed as evidence did not give the jury the full picture, he argued.
The Court of Appeal agreed.
“These statements are evidence that (Greenspan) had spent the last months of his life believing that his financial difficulties were growing more severe,” the Court of Appeals wrote in its opinion, adding, “This evidence tends to make it more likely that (Greenspan) had reached a state of mind…that provided a motive for acting desperately and violently to obtain money from (Bement).”
Even without seeing all the emails, the jury struggled with their decision to convict Bement. It took a week before a guilty verdict was returned, and jurors opted for a life sentence without parole instead of the death penalty Bement was facing.
Now, a new trial is underway in Washington County Circuit Court. The 12-person jury trial began on Tuesday, August 23 before Judge Eric Butterfield.
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