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Aug-24-2006 16:54printcomments

Man Pleads Guilty in Courthouse Rampage

The man who was nicknamed the Courthouse Plunger after a daylong siege of the Marion County courthouse has pled guilty to a long list of charges that include attempted murder and several counts of arson.

Christopher Millis
Photos by: Tim King

(SALEM) - The man who took over the Marion County courthouse on November 12th, 2005 pled guilty to the series of crimes today in court. The rampage of Christpher Millis amounts to one of the costliest crimes in Marion County's history. Law enforcement officers from all over western Oregon joined Marion County deputies and Salem police officers as they eventually brought an end to the ordeal with no loss of life.

That day started out bright and early for Millis, when he set fire to several cars in the Keizer City Police parking lot. An unsuspecting police officer just arriving for her morning shift caught Millis in the act, and he brandished a gun and fired at her.

That's when the chase began, and in the course of it Millis fired at homes, leaving damage but no victims. He lost the pursuing officers and made his way to downtown Salem where he switched his car for a full-size pick-up truck.

Millis at his arraignment shortly after the incident

Millis got the truck moving and plowed through the courthouse doors, sending shards of glass and building and metal detecting machines flying through the entrance.

Marion County Courthouse after the attack

That's when Millis began setting fires in the building. Marion County Sheriff Spokesman said at the time that it was fortunate the fires did not overtake the entire building. The fires burned themselves out in the end and Rau says it is a testimony to a well constructed building. Many construction techniques employed at the time it was built led to the building's survival, though the damage was severe and cost several million dollars to repair.

Millis went out in a hail of bullets, defiant police say, to the last moment possible.

Kyle Tritts worked on the rebuild

Of course these days it is better than ever, since the damage Millis succeeded in administering to the courthouse led to a full and complete rebuild.

Christopher Millis pleaded guilty to Attempted Murder, Burglary in the First Degree; seven counts of First Degree Arson, and four counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon.

The judge hearing the case was Lane County Circuit Judge Lyle C. Verlure. It was decided early on that the damage Millis caused in Marion County would require a change of venue for the proceedings.

The next step for Millis is sentencing, that takes place at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, August 30th at the Lane County Courthouse.




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Mother September 17, 2006 11:09 pm (Pacific time)

I wish all the facts had the chance to come out. It might have helped others.


E. Villman August 28, 2006 1:54 pm (Pacific time)

I am curious about his motivations, I have heard everything from girlfriend issues, to just plain psycho. And why was he so willing to cooperate and plead guilty?


Anonymous August 25, 2006 7:14 pm (Pacific time)

Finally.....a "bad guy" willing to take responsibility for his actions and not drag it out for months and years of court battles and taxpayer $$$.

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