Suspected serial killer indicted for the murders of three women in Portland

PORTLAND, OR – Oregon prosecutors have indicted a suspected serial killer linked to three murders in the Portland area just weeks before his scheduled release from prison on unrelated charges. Jesse Lee Calhoun, 39, an ex-convict who was released early in 2021, now faces serious accusations of killing at least three women and is suspected in two additional deaths, authorities said.

Calhoun was arrested last year after a series of deaths involving women within a 100-mile radius of Portland. He is now charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of abuse of a corpse following an extensive investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies and the FBI across two states.

Authorities identified Calhoun as a person of interest in five murders that occurred between February and May. The victims—Joanna Speaks, 32; Kristin Smith, 22; Charity Lynn Perry, 24; Bridget Leann Webster, 31; and Ashley Real, 22—were all found in wooded areas in Washington or Oregon.

Multnomah County prosecutors announced the indictment on Friday, specifically in the deaths of Perry, Webster, and Speaks. Perry, who was homeless and living in a tent in Vancouver, Washington, was found in a culvert at Ainsworth State Park, 35 miles east of Portland. Speaks’ remains were discovered near an abandoned barn in Ridgefield, Washington, showing signs of blunt force trauma to the head and neck. Webster, originally from Milwaukie, Oregon, was found dead in Polk County.

The deaths of Real and Smith are still under investigation. Real was last seen at a Portland fast-food restaurant on March 27, and her remains were found in Eagle Creek on May 7. Smith went missing on December 22, 2022, and her remains were discovered in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood on February 19.

Calhoun’s criminal history includes convictions for car theft, burglary, and assaulting officers. His 2018 sentence for drug and weapons charges was commuted by then-Gov. Kate Brown in 2021 as part of a program offering leniency to prisoners who volunteered to fight wildfires. However, he has been in custody since last year after Gov. Tina Kotek revoked his clemency.

Calhoun is expected to be transferred from Snake River Correctional Institution to Multnomah County jail ahead of his arraignment.