Investigative Reporter John Taft
Grants Pass, OR – Sometime between 9:30 Saturday evening and 6 A.M Sunday morning someone strangled Speckles, the world famous barred rock hen, who lived outside Ray’s Market in Murphy, Oregon. In Speckles’ sudden rise to fame this little hen was involved in one of the most bizarre ongoing criminal justice cases to come out of Josephine County.
Where It All Started
A good Samaritan named Nick Gombos found Speckles huddled under a magazine rack at Ray’s Market and took her home. Gombos made no secret of having the chicken. The store was advised where the chicken was. The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office sent out five deputies in four patrol cars at one in the morning to rescue the hen. Gombos was arrested and taken to jail clad only in his red speedos. District Attorney Clay Johnson is gung-ho to prosecute this chicken case, at a cost of thousands of dollars. Johnson complains that he doesn’t have enough money to prosecute felonies. It must be the climate, the water, or perhaps a virus that causes such screwball arrests and prosecutions in Josephine County. The rest of the story on Spreckles and the Gombos arrest can be found on the following link.
I spoke to Nate McCully, a manager at Ray’s Market, on Monday afternoon, May 3, 2004. He told me that the area residents were incensed over this wanton killing of a pet chicken. McCully said, "The publicity did it." There are suspects and one community member has put up a reward of $500 dollars for the arrest and conviction of the hen’s killer. I asked if a deputy sheriff had come out to the store. He said one had. I contacted the sheriff’s office and was told Deputy Julie Scruggs was heading up the investigation of Speckles death. I then left a voice mail message for Deputy Scruggs to return my call. If she’s like her male counterparts I’ll be waiting a long time.
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