COQUILLE — After less than a half-hour of deliberations, a Coos County jury returned with a unanimous verdict: Wayne Raymond Hagner is guilty of murder.
Following a three-day trial, the North Bend man was convicted in the July 5 shooting death of his wife, Anna Lee Hagner. A police officer found her lying in a pool of blood while conducting a welfare check.
Hagner’s defense team, Robert Manske and Allen Goldman, had fought to convince the jury that Hagner’s actions were, at worst, reckless, rather than an intentional attempt to take a life.
Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier wasn’t having that line of thought.
In his rebuttal to Goldman’s closing remarks, Frasier rolled his chair in front of the jury, raised his right hand and pointed it like a gun.
Witness Otto Epping had testified that Hagner had fired a shot from a seated position into the kitchen at a downward angle.
“This,” said Frasier, seated before the jury, “was not a reckless act.”
Earlier in the day, state Deputy Medical Examiner James Olson had testified the gunshot wound that killed Anna Hagner was almost immediately fatal.
North Bend Police Sgt. Buddy Young had found Anna, who was disabled, lying in a pool of blood next to her walker in the couple’s kitchen.
A .32-caliber bullet, fired from a Harrington & Richardson revolver, had struck her just above the left eye at a downward angle. Towels had been stacked around the woman’s head to contain the blood pouring from the wound.
“A bullet wound causes far more injury than penetrating just the tissue it goes through,” Olson said, pointing to bullet and bone fragments shown inside Anna Hagner’s skull in an autopsy X-ray.
Goldman called Hagner’s father, Leonard, and two shopkeepers to testify to the man’s “loving” nature when seen with his wife.
But under cross-examination from Frasier, all admitted their brief observations gave only a small window into the Hagners’ marriage.
During his closing presentation, the prosecutor replayed audio from video recorded by the Hagners’ neighbor, Sally Anderson, during a dispute shortly before the shooting.
As the sounds of swearing and yelling faded back into the speakers, Frasier gave the jury a knowing look.
“We have this, supposedly from the man who treats his wife well,” he said.
Following the verdict, Frasier asked the jury to answer four questions regarding Hagner's past and likely future:
- Did Hagner lack empathy or sympathy for his crime?
- Was he on post-prison parole or supervision at the time of the crime?
- Did his criminal record demonstrate a history of repetitive assaults?
- Was Hagner unwilling to reform his criminal conduct?
After hearing from two post-trial witnesses called by Frasier, the jury decided the answer to all of the above was "yes."
North Bend Police Officer Mike Kuehn, who'd testified during the trial regarding the murder weapon found in the home, told the jury police had found two additional handguns — a .22-caliber Jennings semi-automatic and a .380-caliber Colt Pocket Hammerless semi-automatic — in the couple's bedroom.
"He wasn't supposed to have firearms in the first place," said Frasier, who explained that Hagner had already pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm prior to the murder trial.
Steve Reeves, a case officer with Coos County Community Corrections, testified that Hagner had been on supervision for a coercion charge, stemming from a 2009 assault case in which Anna Hagner was the victim.
That charge, Frasier said, was one of the last in a laundry list of criminal charges ranging from assault to harassment Hagner had been convicted of in the past decade.
As far as attempts to reform Hagner's criminal ways, Reeves said the man had already graduated from an anger management program and a drug treatment program prior to the 2013 shooting.
As a result of the jury’s findings, Frasier said he’ll seek an enhancement to the minimum sentence for murder, which is 25 years in prison under Measure 11 guidelines.
Judge Richard Barron scheduled Hagner’s sentencing for Feb. 3.
Reporter Thomas Moriarty can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ThomasDMoriarty.