Oregon man pleads guilty in gun theft tied to deputy killing
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — An Oregon man has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison in connection with a stolen firearms trafficking scheme that led to the shooting death of Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Jeremy Brown in southwest Washington.
Brian Clement, 51, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court Tuesday to second-degree burglary and theft of a firearm, The Columbian reported. A charge of unlawful possession of a firearm was dismissed as part of his plea agreement.
The plea deal also requires Clement to testify against his co-defendant, Misty Raya. Prosecutors say he helped her break into a storage unit to steal firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Prosecutors have said one of the stolen guns was used by Raya’s brother-in-law, Guillermo Raya Leon, to shoot Brown as he was working undercover July 23, 2021 at an apartment complex in east Vancouver.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Smith said during Tuesday’s hearing that Clement was not directly involved in Brown’s death, but Clement’s actions set off a series of events that led to it. She said he helped Raya break into safes inside the storage unit to get to the guns and ammunition.
Defense attorney Kari Reardon said that under different circumstances, she likely would’ve asked Judge John Fairgrieve to sentence Clement to drug treatment court, because he had relapsed at the time.
Clement apologized to the Brown family Tuesday and said he wouldn’t have been involved if he knew someone would be killed.
“As a previous military police officer, my heart goes out to the family,” Clement said.
Fairgrieve ordered the agreed-upon 90-month sentence and acknowledged the compromises prosecutors have made to ensure cooperation agreements and stronger cases against those charged directly with Brown’s killing. He also recognized that Clement showed remorse for his role.
Investigators have said that Raya Leon admitted to shooting Brown, 46, while the detective was seated in an unmarked police SUV.
Detectives were following Raya Leon, his brother, Abran Raya Leon and his brother’s wife, Misty Raya that day as part of an investigation into the firearms and ammunition theft from the storage unit.
Court records say Misty Raya’s friend, Lani Kraabell, was helping them find buyers for the stolen guns when Guillermo Raya Leon shot Brown.
Kraabell pleaded guilty in June to second-degree manslaughter in connection with Brown’s death and also agreed to cooperate with the criminal cases against her co-defendants. She was sentenced to six years in prison.
Raya Leon has pleaded not guilty to first-degree aggravated murder and other charges. Misty Raya has pleaded not guilty to burglary, identity theft and multiple counts of firearm theft.