ALBANY, Ore.— Chad Cheever of Tangent was sentenced Friday to life in prison for the murder of his uncle in 2018.
He must serve a minimum of 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Cheever, 47, was convicted of killing his uncle Donald Whisenhunt on Sept. 20, 2018.
Several members of Whisenhunt’s family spoke during the sentencing hearing. They talked about what kind of a person he was and how his death has affected their family.
Ron Whisenhunt, Donald Whisenhunt's brother, recalled that nearly 500 people attended the celebration of life held in his brother's honor, calling it a testament to his brother's character.
Ron Whisenhunt described his brother as a man who lived a farmer's lifestyle. "I can say this about him, during the day or night if somebody was broken down on the road, you could count on Don to stop and help."
He said he never understood why his brother took Cheever in. “I myself wouldn’t have,” he said, adding that if he’d had the chance, he would have cautioned against it given Cheever’s history of violence and felony arrests.
Cheever was sentenced by Judge Thomas McHill in Linn County Circuit Court. A jury found Cheever guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree assault on Wednesday following a trial.
Cheever claimed in letters to KEZI that he did get into a physical altercation with his uncle, but that he did not kill him. He claimed that after Whisenhunt was knocked unconscious, he was left unattended in his yard and other elements caused his death.
In the letters, Cheever said he got into a fight with his uncle after learning Whisenhunt sexually abused his daughter, but the jury didn't believe him.