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Just two hours after being released from Benton County Jail, a convicted felon picked out a random Philomath home on the western edge of town on Thursday afternoon and attempted to rape the woman living there, prosecutors say. During a struggle, the woman was able to grab a knife that she had hidden in between her bed’s box spring and mattress to defend herself against the attacker.

Those are among the details included in the case’s probable cause affidavit filed Monday morning by the Benton County District Attorney’s Office. Many of those same details were also aired during the suspect’s arraignment on Monday afternoon.

The alleged attacker, identified as 37-year-old Linus Ezra Morgan, of Corvallis, reportedly suffered two stab wounds and left the woman’s residence before he was taken into police custody near a convenience store on South Eighth Street, the affidavit states.

“The defendant committed what the state believes to be a very heinous act,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Amie Matusko of the Benton County District Attorney’s Office told Judge Joan Demarest during the arraignment in Benton County Circuit Court. “He entered the home of a complete stranger, undressed, lay on top of her as she was sleeping and when she awoke to him on top of her, he threatened to kill her, told her to remain silent and that he was going to rape her.”

Matusko went on to describe the violence that followed, including that the victim managed to stab him with a knife.

“The defendant was released from jail two hours before committing this offense,” Matusko told the judge. “He received a ride to the area at which point he entered the victim’s home.”

Morgan faces felony charges of first-degree attempted rape and two counts of first-degree burglary along with misdemeanor charges of strangulation, fourth-degree assault, menacing and harassment.

The judge set bail at $1 million. Morgan told the court that he wanted to represent himself and attempted to plead guilty to all charges. However, the judge appointed Corvallis attorney Christian Strahl amid Morgan’s protests. Strahl entered a not guilty plea on Morgan’s behalf and told the court that he intended to talk to his client about options related to entering a plea and waiving counsel.

The judge set another hearing for Tuesday to “address the attorney situation.”

According to the affidavit, the victim called 911 at 4:26 p.m. Thursday to report the attack and that she had stabbed him. Philomath police arrived within five minutes and found that the woman had a substantial amount of blood on her clothing and in her hair, the affidavit states. She described the man, said she didn’t know him and that he ran off.  

During the Philomath officer’s conversation with the victim, a Benton County Sheriff’s Office detective approached the suspect on South Eighth Street near a convenience store. Philomath Police headed to the location and confirmed his identity as Morgan, the affidavit states.

During an interview, Morgan reportedly told police that he poured pomegranate juice on himself and was not injured even though police could see blood in areas around his elbow, bare feet and right armpit, according to the affidavit.

Philomath Fire & Rescue medics arrived on scene and during an examination, police could see the extent of the injuries. Morgan refused to be treated by the medics, the affidavit states.

Police took him into custody and drove him to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. After being treated there, he was booked into the Benton County Jail.

The victim, a woman in her early 40s, did have security cameras in operation at her front and back door locations.

According to details from a police interview included in the affidavit, the woman said she had not been feeling well and went to her bedroom to sleep at around 1:30 to 2 p.m. The woman said she awoke to the man lying naked on her bed and that he had threatened to rape her and if she screamed, kill her.

After a few verbal exchanges, a struggle broke out. The woman reported to police that she had a knife with a curved blade about 5 inches in length hidden between the box spring and the mattress.

According to the affidavit, the attacker had her in a chokehold for over half a minute and was hitting her in the back of the head before she could grab the knife.  

The woman was able to stab him in the shoulder and elbowed him, which led to the opportunity to inflict a second stab wound, but the attacker continued and attempted to get the knife from her. After the struggle continued for another minute or so, the attacker reportedly got up and stated “you win” as he was bleeding. With the attacker still in the room, the victim called 911, the affidavit stated.

The woman reported that after the stabbing, her attacker retreated, put on clothes and ran out of her house without shoes on, although he reportedly left behind a poncho and flip-flops.

Matusko read a victim’s statement during the arraignment in which she described the attack as a “nightmare situation” and added that “he is going to do this again. He tried choking me and was going to kill me.”

Morgan has a long arrest sheet dating back several years mostly in Benton, Linn and Marion counties with five prior felony convictions. He was convicted of a sex offense in 2020 and had an aggravated harassment conviction for which he was under post-prison supervision, Matusko said.

Morgan was arrested by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 4 on a post-prison supervision detainer and lodged in Benton County Jail. Matusko told the court that he was released at 2:37 p.m. Thursday after the detainer had been lifted.

Matusko said she learned that once out of jail, Morgan was directed by a probation officer to report to her office but instead, while the probation officer was picking up paperwork, he left the area. The probation officer immediately applied for a warrant, which was granted, Matusko added.

Matusko asked for $1 million security based on his previous record, severity of the allegations, a history of failing to appear in court and considering the prospect of Morgan facing multiple years in prison if convicted.

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

One reply on “Philomath woman fights off would-be rapist in home invasion”

  1. While this is a horrific and tragic crime, I want to recognize the courage and tenacity of the victim to decisively fight off her attacker. Also, our local law enforcement (Philomath Police and Benton County Sheriff) and first responders (Philomath Fire) quick response to capturing the offender and bring aid to the victim.

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