By News-Register staff • 

Deer Meadow assault suspect indicted on murder charge

Nathan Brewer
Nathan Brewer

Nathan Brewer, a former Deer Meadow Assisted Living resident who allegedly inflicted a fatal beating on fellow resident Ronald McKenzie with a hammer the morning of May 14 at the Sheridan facility, has been indicted by a Yamhill County grand jury on one count of murder.

Brewer, 51, was originally charged with one count of first-degree assault with bail set at $150,000. He had no means of posting the required $15,000 to secure his release, according to his court-appointed attorney Michael Finch of McMinnville.

He was arraigned Friday afternoon in circuit court before Judge Cynthia Easterday. At the request of Deputy District Attorney Alicia Eagan, Easterday ordered a no-hold bail for Brewer. Finch said he anticipated that would occur based on the severity of the charge.

Brewer's next court appearance was scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday, July 28. Finch said he expects it to be awhile before he has a "full grasp" of all the details related to the case and the evidence against his client.

McKenzie, 51, died May 16 at Salem Hospital. A physician said McKenzie sustained severe blows to the head and face. He said McKenzie had sustained blunt force blows that could have been caused by a hammer, court records state.

When Sheridan Fire District medical personnel arrived at the facility about 3:45 on the morning of the reported assault, they found McKenzie lying on the bloody floor of his room, near a bloodstained claw hammer. They transported him to Salem Hospital by ambulance.

See Tuesday's print edition for additional details.

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