Utah aggravated assault, Oregon murder; first arraignment

Image by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The 34-year-old man arrested in Las Vegas, Nev. on charges brought by the State of Utah after he led Arizona Highway Patrol on a high speed chase which culminated with assist by the Utah Highway patrol just inside the Utah border on Feb. 10,  has been arraigned in Oregon today, where he has simultaneously been charged with murder.

Zane Sterling Skeen, mugshot, Klamath County, Ore.
Zane Sterling Skeen, mugshot, Klamath County, Ore.

The link between Oregon and Utah emerged when the car that Zane Sterling Skeen was driving, and rolled, on Feb. 10 in Utah was found registered to 65-year-old Larry Wayne Clark, found dead in his Klamath Falls home on Feb. 11.

Skeen’s residence was adjacent to that of Clark’s, he had Clark’s car, and investigation ensued by the Klamath County Sheriff into the possibility of Skeen’s involvement in Clark’s death. AHP, UHP, Utah’s Washington County Attorney’s office, Nevada’s Las Vegas Metro, and other agencies cooperated in the investigation.

Skeen was first arrested and detained in Nevada’s Clark County Jail on arrest warrants issued by Utah’s Washington County Attorney. He had been Life Flighted to Las Vegas for medical care following the car chase rollover. Washington County filed charges of aggravated assault – for allegedly attempting to collide head-on with a car in oncoming traffic on Interstate 15 in Utah after his tires had been spiked –, failure to respond to officer’s signal to stop, possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.

While yet detained in Nevada pending extradition to Utah, Skeen was arrested on charges of murder by the State of Oregon. The Information statement signed by the Attorney General for the State of Oregon and Interim Klamath County District Attorney on Feb. 28 included in its probable cause statement:

“On Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, Zane Sterling Skeen unlawfully caused the death of Larry Wayne Clark by striking Clark in the head multiple times with a hard object crushing a section of Clarks skull.”

Utah ceded priority of extradition to Oregon, given the gravity of the Oregon charges relative to those brought by Utah.

Skeen was arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. in Klamath County Circuit Court on murder, first-degree burglary, second-degree theft, third-degree criminal mischief and several failure to appear charges.

Oregon Department of Justice spokesman Jeff Manning provided the following detail of Skeen’s history with Oregon law enforcement:

“In prior incidents, Skeen was charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief on Oct. 18, 2011. He allegedly broke into a Klamath Falls business by throwing something through the front door and then allegedly helped himself to 10 adult videos.

“On June 24, 2012, he was charged with fourth degree assault for allegedly hitting his teenage daughter.

“On Nov. 19, 2012, he was charged with failure to timely register a change of address with the state, something he needs to do since being labeled a sex offender. Skeen in 1999 was convicted of 2nd and 3rd-degree rape.”

Both Utah and Arizona are expected to pursue prosecution of their own charges against Skeen after Oregon’s process is completed.

Persons arrested are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Herald and News reporter Shelby King contributed to this story.

Related posts

Man arrested after AZ-Utah high speed chase now arrested for murder in Oregon

Near head-on collision ending high-speed chase may be intentional, suspect named; STGnews Photo Gallery

Arizona to Utah high speed chase ends in collision and rollover, driver ejected

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Image by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News
Image by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News

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