By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

New life blossoms for victim left for dead

Submitted photoJessica Drury poses with her family at an outing. The former Mac resident is enjoying her new life in Alaska.
Submitted photo
Jessica Drury poses with her family at an outing. The former Mac resident is enjoying her new life in Alaska.

Clack grew up in Soldotna. He was eager to go back, and Drury seemed to be ready for a new adventure.

Yes, this July 12 was an especially good day for Dury, but that really isn't out of the ordinary for her.

"Most days are pretty darn good," she said. "There's not much to complain about."

That's not to say she will ever forget the horrific emotional and physical trauma inflicted on her by Stamper.

The News-Register offered this account as part of its trial coverage:

Drury was working the night shift at a group home for disabled adults run by by Oregon Mennonite Residential Services. It was located in a Northeast McMinnville neighborhood.

She was the only staff member on duty at 3 a.m. when Stamper entered through an unlocked sliding glass door.

Stamper told the jury he got off work at the prison about midnight July 11. He stopped at a convenience store in McMinnville to buy a bottle of beer before returning to his McMinnville home to play video games.

He said he was frustrated during that time in his life. When he drank, he became upset and angry. For reasons he never divulged, he said he just wanted to hurt someone that day.

Stamper said he was aware of the group home through a former girlfriend. He knew women worked most of the shifts, including graveyard.

From the convenience store, he called the home. Drury answered. Stamper immediately hung up.

He presumed she was alone and headed to her location. He found the front door locked, and almost returned home. However, he walked around to the back and discovered an unlocked door.

Stamper spotted Drury sleeping on a living room couch. Armed with a revolver, he pulled her off the couch and hustled her out to his pickup, parked outside.

Drury asked Stamper if she was in danger. He told her no, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Stamper drove her to a remote part of the Coast Range foothills west of McMinnville, where he liked to ride his ATV. The area was off Meadow Lake Road, about 15 miles from its intersection with Westside Road.

Then he launched a vicious series of physical and sexual attacks.

Stamper ordered Drury to undress and began sexually assaulting her in various ways. He ordered her to get dressed, drove her to a new location, and launched a new assault. Then he drove her to a third location and mounted yet another attack.

This time, Drury bit Stamper in the groin area, and he punched her in the face.

He ordered her to lie on her stomach and not move. Then he used her shirt to strangle her until she lost consciousness.

Thinking she was dead, he dumped her in the bushes and piled brush on top. By the time she regained consciousness, about 7:30 a.m., Stamper had fled.

Drury found her way out to Meadow Lake Road and began walking. She was eventually spotted by log truck driver Steve Schommer of McMinnville, who was making an early morning run to Forest Grove with a load.

She was standing in the road, using a pair of discarded pants she found in the woods as her only cover, when Schommer came upon her. He stopped and let Drury in the passenger side.

He took off his shirt and gave it to Drury to wear as she told her story. He couldn't call for help immediately, as both his company and personal cell phones were out of service range.

He was eventually able to reach his boss, who called the Yamhill Communications Agency in McMinnville.

Schommer drove Drury on to Carlton City Hall, where they were met by a detective. "He was a hero," said District Attorney Brad Berry, who prosecuted the case.

Drury was transported by ambulance to the Willamette Valley Medical Center for treatment. An emergency room doctor told investigators she should not have survived.

A male acquaintance of Drury's was in the habit of calling the Mennonite home every morning to check on her. He reported her missing to McMinnville police at 6:45 the morning of July 12, when she failed to answer the phone.

When fellow workers began arriving about an hour later for the day shift, they found the residents unattended. That triggered an investigation into Drury's disappearance.

Authorities were about to launch a search when she turned up.

Thanks in part to a composite sketch developed by a Salem police artist, in consultation with Drury, Stamper was identified the following day as the prime suspect. She picked him out of a photo lineup.

When he reported for work at the prison the night of Tuesday, July 13, he was taken into custody by law enforcement officials.

A 12-member Yamhill County Circuit Court jury found Stamper guilty in April 2005 of five counts of attempted aggravated murder, three counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy and one count each of attempted murder, first-degree burglary, attempted first-degree sodomy, second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault.

Judge Cal Tichenor sentenced him to 62 years in prison, with no eligibility for early release throug good-time reduction or parole. 

The state Department of Corrections took him into custody on April 22, 2005. His earliest release date is Dec. 19, 2066, by which time he would be 90. He is incarcerated at the Two Rivers Correctional Institute in the Eastern Oregon community of Umatilla.

Berry asked for a sentence of 1,000 months, which works out to 83 years and four months. Stamper's court-appointed attorney, Ted Coran of Salem, requested a term of 42 to 45 years. Tichenor ended up roughly splitting the difference.

"It is essentially an act of faith to believe there is any hope left in the rehabilitation and reformation of Robert Stamper," Coran said.

Berry put Drury on the stand at trial, and her testimony was instrumental in securing conviction on all counts. Having an opprtunity to tell her story to the jury provided her with a sense of closure.

"Testifying, it wasn't that hard," she said. "They (the prosecution) made it so easy for me They made me feel good bout it."

As the trial continued Drury said she felt drained and found herself sleeping a lot. Having to look at Stamper, and recounting in front of family members and friends what he did to her, took an emotional toll, she said.

She doesn't recall Stamper ever showing any remorse, and that angered her at the time. That's no longer the case. She let it go.

Though Drury is always cognizant of July 12 as it approaches, she said she's moved on and can talk openly about it now.

"I'm in such a rare situation," she said. "I think it would have been harder for me to deal with had there not been so much closure.

"He was put away. I helped with that. I know exactly where he is. I'll receive a call if he is moved, dies, anything. I don't have to worry about that."

With the 10-year mark approaching, Drury wanted to thank members of the law enforcement community, larger community and criminal justice system, not to mention friends and family, for the support they provided during what was such a difficult time in her life.

"The community was amazing," she said. "I don't know how I would have made it throuugh that horrible ordeal without everyone.

"Ten years ago, the community came together for me, and I can't begin to express my gratitude. Everyone who went through that is amazing."

Frank Butler, a retired McMinnville police officer, was serving as Carlton police chief at the time.

Drury said she remembers his great sense of humor. She said she thinks of him as part of her family.

Rob Anderson is on the Carlton police force today but was working for the sheriff's office at the time. Drury said they haven't talked in quite a while, but she is grateful to him as well.

Ed Wanner, the community employment manager for Mid-Valley Rehabilitation, owned the McMinnville Figaro's franchise at the time. He organized a fundraising effort that generated more than $4,500 for a "Kidnapped Teenage Support Fund" set up at US Bank.

As customers made donations at Figaro's, they left messages for Drury. Some of the notes read:

"You are not a victim, you are victorious;" "So glad you were protected during the violence and evil on that day;" and "When I heard about your story, I was dumfounded and heartbroken."

Most well-wishers didn't know her name, as it was not made public at the time, but some did. Among them were her co-workers at the Mennonite home, who demonstrated great support.

Ironically, her supervisor at the home was Stamper's ex-wife.

As a result, she said, "His daughter knew me and knew what happened to me. It was a weird situation."

Drury said Tichenor did a masterful job of making her feel comfortable in the courtroom. He always had a smile for her, she said, and she appreciated so many things he had to say, particularly on sentencing day.

"You had every opportunity to take that young woman into consideration," Tichenor told Stamper. "You never once thought about her."

Rejecting any possibility of parole for Stamper, he said, "You have not given me any indication that I should subject any member of society to your criminal intent."

Drury also praised Berry, saying he did a wonderful job.

"This is not a murder case because of the internal will of the victim, not because of the conduct of Mr. Stamper," Berry told the court. "The only reason we're not sentencing on an aggravated murder case, judge, is because Mr. Stamper failed."

She also had kind words for Yamhill County Crime Victims Services, a branch of the district attorney's office.

"A lot of victims have trouble with the system, but everyone was amazing," she said.

While she understands she's a survivor in the truest sense of the word, Drury said she never really thought of herself as anyone special.

"You don't know how strong you are until something like that happens," she said.

Drury opened up to new friends after making the move to Alaska. As time passed, it became easier.

"When I told one of my best friends, she couldn't believe it," Drury said. "When you start telling the story, it gets worse and worse.

"It changes people's view of you. They're all shocked to hear the story and to hear I'm doing so good."

She didn't tell Clack right away, after they met in McMinnville. But she told him long before they decided to make the move to Alaska.

"I have a big scrapbook, with so many articles," Drury said, and "it overwhelmed him" when he shared it with him. "He wished he could have been there for me, for the support," she said.

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