PORTLAND - A homeless sex offender was indicted Wednesday for the aggravated murder of a shelter employee who had invited him into her Southeast Portland home last month.

If convicted, Mark Beebout, 39, could face the death penalty.

Nikayla Powell, 32, volunteered at Operation Nightwatch, a drop-in center in downtown Portland for the homeless hosted by St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish. Her body was found July 10 in her apartment on Southeast Belmont Street after neighbors noticed a foul odor.

The Multnomah County Grand Jury on Wednesday indicted Beebout on six counts of aggravated murder, sex abuse and assault charges. Court documents obtained by KGW said that Powell had been strangled with a shoelace and sexually abused.

Powell had volunteered for about six months and Beebout had been dropping in for about three months.

Nightwatch officials told KGW they recently learned that Powell had allowed Beebout to move into her apartment, which was against program rules, for safety reasons.

Operation director Gary Davis said Powell was a shy person who eventually started spending time with one or two homeless people each night at the facility. Volunteers were encouraged to talk to the homeless or play table games.

Staff members at Nightwatch said Powell was a dear, caring person and brought light to others' lives.

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