The Murder of Chad Render


This story is based on a 5/14/1999 article in The Oregonian.

Chad Render, 20,  was a star wrestler and a Portland State University student with a 3.26 GPA despite working 32 hours per week in a nursing home. He aspired to be an architect.

On July 27, 1997, Chad Render was the target of an armed robbery. He refused to leave his car. The robber shot him to death.

The murderer was 15-year-old Anthony Pickens. He was recruited into crime by 20-year-old Antoine Johnson. Johnson had previously shot a cab driver, leaving him with brain injuries, but he had not yet been convicted for that crime.

Pickens was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison under Measure 11. He agreed to testify against the ringleader, Johnson, who was also accused of murder.

Pickens backed out of his agreement to testify against Johnson, other witnesses refused to testify, and a judge ruled that letters written by Johnson were not admissible in court. As a result, prosecutors could not get a murder conviction. Johnson pled to Robbery I and received a Measure 11 sentence of 7 1/2 years in prison.

For shooting the cab driver, Johnson was convicted of Robbery II and was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison. Because this sentence runs concurrently with Johnson's Robbery I conviction, Johnson will serve no additional time for leaving the cab driver with brain damage.

If Measure 94 passes, the shooting of the cab driver will not be counted as a prior offense when Johnson is resentenced for the Render case because, at that time, Johnson had not been convicted of the prior shooting. Johnson will almost certainly receive reduced sentences for both crimes.

If Measure 94 passes, Johnson will make an early return to the community. The community has lost Chad Render forever.

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