California man who killed Lake Oswego man sentenced to life in prison

Erik Meiser in court Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 during his sentencing. (KATU Photo)

A California transient who killed a Lake Oswego man with a machete in 2012 was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

Erik Meiser was convicted last month of murdering 52-year-old Frederick "Fritz" Hayes. But the judge ruled Meiser insane when he committed burglary and robbery before the killing.

During Tuesday’s sentencing, the defense argued for Meiser to stay in the Oregon State Hospital for continued mental health treatment. They called into question the treatment of the mentally ill in prisons. But the victim's family feared Meiser would be coddled in a hospital and then let out early. In the end Judge Katherine Weber sided with prosecutors.

According to 2012 court documents, Meiser was standing in the kitchen of Fritz Hayes' home when Hayes and his wife returned from a morning walk at around 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2012.

When Hayes' wife saw Meiser holding a machete in one hand and a knife in the other, she screamed and ran out a back door. She went around to the front of her house and found her husband near the driveway bleeding profusely, the documents said.

Fritz Hayes died in his wife's arms as she was one the phone with 9-1-1 dispatchers.

Meiser was captured days later at a motel in Corvallis where he was registered under a false name.

During the sentencing hearing, Hayes' wife, Maggie, addressed Meiser.

"Erik Meiser, you had no right to enter our home. You didn't even know us, but chose to vent your anger at society on us. You gave up your rights when you entered our home. You butchered an innocent man for nothing," she said. "As far as I'm concerned, your life has no value, and you are indeed a failure. "

After Meiser was sentenced, Maggie told KATU the punishment was exactly what she was hoping for. She said she and her family will live their lives and not waste any more time thinking about him.

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