ALBANY, Ore. — A suspect has been arrested in connection with several crimes, including murdering an Albany woman and raping another woman.
Albany Police say 18-year-old Lucius Wilson III, of Albany, was charged with the crimes Wednesday. He was arrested on June 2 for a separate trespassing charge, but while he has been in custody, police say they gathered evidence to link him to a string of crimes in Southeast Albany.
Wednesday’s charges include the murder of 36-year-old Angela Stephenson, who was fatally shot on May 13 at the Brookshore Apartments in Albany. Police say Stephenson’s 8-year-old son called them to report his mother was bleeding.
“I was upstairs in my bedroom trying to sleep,” said neighbor Velki Virrueta. “I heard a noise. It sounded like a struggle; some wrestling. Didn’t hear screaming, but I heard what sounded like a gunshot.”
When Virrueta found out that her next-door neighbor had been murdered, she felt a fear she never had sensed before.
“I was just traumatized,” she said. “I was honestly sleeping with a knife next to my bed. I could not sleep by myself. I was staying at a friend’s house just to feel safer because I couldn’t be here by myself. It was just so traumatizing.”
Not only a week before the murder, but a different woman reported being raped in the same region of town. Police say Wilson is also connected to the sexual assault, at an apartment complex in the 900 block of SE 18th Avenue. On May 7, the victim reported an armed man entered her apartment through a second floor balcony and raped her. Following the assault, police say Wilson forced the victim at gunpoint to drive to a local credit union and withdraw money from her account.
“Initially it doesn’t look like there is a connection between the two – between the victims and our suspect,” said Captain Eric Carter with the Albany Police Department about both the rape and murder cases.
Investigators believe Wilson is also the armed suspect in the robbery of the Circle K convenience store at 333 SE 34th Avenue in Albany on April 17.
Wilson is also being charged with three nighttime home burglaries in Albany and one in Jefferson.
“In my 21 years, this is the most serious string of crimes that I’m aware of,” Captain Carter said. “We’ve had murders; we’ve had people that have been raped in a stranger sense. But to have a string of upwards 15 nighttime burglaries that include a murder, a rape, a robbery and all that when people are at home – it’s just unprecedented for us.”
Wilson has not yet been convicted, but neighbors say they already feel a sense of peace.
“I’m glad that they caught the killer,” Virrueta said. “The community is going to be safer with him behind bars.”
But police still have a word of warning. As the warmer months approach, police say more residents tend to keep their windows or doors open.
“Just because Lucius Wilson has been taken into custody – still take precautions,” Captain Carter said. “Don’t take for granted that you live on a second-story apartment or condominium or anything and that in itself makes you safe. Because in this case, that’s how our suspect was able to gain entrance in the residences – primarily through second-story residences.”
Meanwhile, neighbors and friends say Wilson’s arrest helps them move forward during a time of tragedy.
“I’m going to hold my kids dear,” Virrueta said. “And move on from this horrible situation that has happened.
Lucius Wilson III is lodged in the Linn County Jail on 12 counts including murder, rape, kidnapping and burglary. Police say their investigation is still continuing, and they are asking anyone with information about the suspect to call the Albany Police Detective Unit at 541-917-7886.