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Ore. Grand Jury Indicts BYU Student's Murder Suspect on More Charges

Ore. Grand Jury Indicts BYU Student's Murder Suspect on More Charges

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CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Joel P. Courtney, the man accused of killing Brigham Young University student Brooke Wilberger three years ago, is facing additional charges in Oregon.

A Benton County grand jury has handed up an indictment charging Courtney with two counts of attempted murder, four counts of attempted kidnapping and two counts each of attempted sodomy, rape and sex abuse, the Gazette-Times newspaper reported.

Brooke Wilberger
Brooke Wilberger

District Attorney John Haroldson on Wednesday declined to discuss specifics of the latest charges. "As the new district attorney, having a new administration, and having been involved in the Wilberger case from the beginning, I'm in a position to make a decision about whether to file additional charges should the evidence warrant it," he said.

Oregon prosecutors labeled Courtney a "suspected serial killer" during a court hearing early last year, and said at the time that a Benton County grand jury was continuing to investigate.

Wilberger, 19, a Brigham Young University student, vanished from an apartment complex near Oregon State University on May, 24, 2004. She had been cleaning lamp poles outside the complex her sister managed in Corvallis when she disappeared, leaving behind her flip-flops and a pail of soapy water.

More than a year later, Courtney was arrested and charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape. Wilberger's body has not been found.

The arrest for the new accusations was conducted Tuesday at the Albuquerque, N.M. Jail where Courtney has been held for more than two years, the newspaper reported. Courtney is there awaiting trial for charges in the kidnapping and rape of a University of New Mexico student in November 2004.

That case is expected to go to trial in September. After it concludes, Courtney will be extradited to Oregon to be tried for Wilberger's death.

------ Information from: Gazette-Times.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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