May 30, 1996 in City
Indictment Returned Against Suspect
An indictment was returned Wednesday against a suspect in a triple slaying whose jailhouse confessional to a priest was secretly tape-recorded.
The district attorney would not disclose the charges against Conan Wayne Hale, however, saying the indictment would be made public at arraignment today.
Hale, 20, is a suspect in the Dec. 21 shooting deaths of three teenagers near Springfield, near Eugene in the Willamette Valley. He is in the Lane County Jail awaiting trial on related burglary and theft charges.
The taping brought an outcry from religious leaders around the world, including the Vatican, and from advocates of civil liberties.
The Roman Catholic Church urged that the tape be destroyed, while Hale’s attorney asked that it be preserved so that she could make sure information from the private conversation was not used against her client in court.
District Attorney Doug Harcleroad admitted he erred in ordering the recording, and said he would not use the tape in court.
The Rev. Timothy Mockaitis said he had no idea he was being taped when he administered the Sacrament of Reconciliation to Hale on April 22.