LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- The suspect in a violent Lake Oswego murder, captured Saturday after a major manhunt, was charged Monday in Clackamas County Circuit Court with robbery, burglary and aggravated murder.
Erik John Meiser could face the death penalty if found guilty on the aggravated murder charge.
Meiser, 37, was wanted for the murder last Monday of 57-year-old Fritz Hayes. Court documents also revealed Monday that Meiser burglarized at least two other properties the same day he allegedly killed Hayes.
He was considered armed and dangerous and a flyer had been circulated, along with his description on social media, alerting people to contact police immediately if they spotted him.
"Meiser became aware at some point last week that he was the suspect in the case. He intentionally changed his appearance and fled the area to avoid detection and arrest," Sgt. Adam Phillips said Monday.
The public helped out with hundreds of tips, one of which helped police track Meiser to Corvallis. He was arrested at gunpoint just after 2 p.m. Saturday outside the Super 8 Motel at 407 2nd Street, according to officers. Officers said he was caught totally off-guard and put up very little fight during his arrest earlier in the day.
The manager of the Super 8 Motel told KGW he stayed there Friday and was trying to check in again on Saturday, under a fake name, but was turned away. The officers swarmed him a short time later, and it was all caught on the motel's surveillance video, which the manager shared with KGW.
"A team spotted him walking on the sidewalk," Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said. Then, the officers surrounded Meiser and arrested him. They said they caught him by surprise, which helped make for a swift and safe capture.
Hayes' family expressed relief over news of the arrest. On Monday, they held a press conference and told reporters they cheered when they learned that Meiser was behind bars.
"Just knowing that he can't, he won't be hurting anybody else, that's the important thing," said Hayes' sister, Ruth.
Meiser was described as a white supremacist with a long history of violent crimes nationwide. There were warrants out for his arrest in eight states, including Utah where police said he slashed a person in the face with a razor in Ogden. The FBI had joined the manhunt for Meiser and officers from several agencies helped in his capture.
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