Oen Evan Nicholson is a California man accused of killing three people during an Oregon crime spree. Nicholson was arrested in Wisconsin, more than 2,000 miles away, after forcing a random woman to drive him there, police say. According to authorities, Nicholson attacked four people, killing three and wounding one, in Coos County. His father is among the victims.
Nicholson, 30, was arrested on June 20, 2021, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after days on the run with a woman he held at gunpoint, according to police. That woman, Laura Johnson, was not injured. Police said he took her captive in Springfield, Oregon, as she walked to her car in the parking lot of a sporting goods store while on her lunch break.
Police identified the slain victims as 83-year-old Charles Simms Nicholson, Oen Nicholson’s father, 74-year-old Anthony Oyster and 47-year-old Jennifer Davidson. All three were killed in North Bend, Oregon, on June 18, according to police. Oyster’s wife, 73-year-old Linda Oyster, was critically injured. North Bend Mayor Jessica Engelke called the spree a “terrible act of violence” during a press conference after Nicholson’s arrest. Other than Charles Nicholson, there are no known ties between Nicholson and the victims. Johnson was not physically harmed, police said.
Here’s what you need to know about Oen Evan Nicholson and the string of crimes he’s accused of:
1. Nicholson Killed His Father at an RV Park, Struck 2 People While Fleeing the Scene in His Truck & Then Shot a Woman Dead at a Marijuana Dispensary
Oen Nicholson is accused of killing his father at the RV Park of The Mill Casino in North Bend, Oregon, to start the crime spree. Police have not released any details about how Charles Nicholson was killed. According to police, Nicholson stole his father’s truck after killing him and ran over Anthony and Linda Oyster, a Florida couple, while fleeing from the scene.
Police said Nicholson then drove the truck to Herbal Choices Marijuana Dispensary, where he shot and killed Davidson. Police have not said if there was a motive for the fatal shooting of Davidson or if he knew her. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office said the stolen pickup truck was later found crashed and burned after being set on fire on Highway 126 near milepost 39 in Noti. Nicholson was also spotted on surveillance video purchasing ammunition at the Cabela’s sporting goods store in Springfield before authorities say he kidnapped Laura Johnson.
“Words fall short of describing the tragedy that took place on Friday and the ensuing events in Lane County, and we’re all left incredibly shakened,” Engelke told reporters at a Sunday press conference. “This is something you hope never happens in your community, in the town that you call home.”
2. Nicholson Is Accused of Forcing Laura Johnson to Drive for 33 Hours, Before She Convinced Him to Turn Himself In
Police said Nicholson abducted Laura Johnson at gunpoint at the Cabela’s sporting goods store in Springfield not long after the June 18 killings in North Bend. Johnson, who works at the store, was on her lunch break and walking to her car, while texting her boyfriend, when she was kidnapped, her family says. She was not heard from after that and her family reported her missing at 11 p.m. on June 18 when co-workers told them she had not returned to work.
Dennis Johnson, Laura Johnson’s father, told KEZI, “He approached her in her vehicle with a gun. They said she was forced to drive 33 hours to where they’re at. She was able to talk him into turning himself in.”
Springfield Police issued a missing persons alert for Johnson on Saturday, June 19, not knowing about the connection to the Coos County killings, according to authorities. Dennis Johnson told KEZI he received a call from police in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Sunday, June 20, about 6 a.m., telling him his daughter was there and that she was safe.
In a statement, Springfield Police said, “On June 18th, our agency took a report of missing person, Laura Johnson of Springfield. Laura had left her place of employment for her lunch break. Our department located video surveillance of her departure. Unbeknownst to us, Laura picked up her lunch and returned to her original parking spot. There, she was contacted by Oen Nicholson, a suspect in the recent North Bend homicide cases. Nicholson forced Laura to drive him north. They continued all the way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he was arrested without incident. Laura is safe and unharmed and on her way back to Oregon. Formal charges for this case are pending. Nicholson is being held in Wisconsin on fugitive warrants from Oregon.”
Dennis Johnson shared a photo on Facebook of his daughter with his wife at an Oregon airport she returned home. “She is home,” he wrote. He added in another post, “To everyone Laura was kidnapped and forced to drive 33hrs and is in Milwaukee Wisconsin. She is unhurt and will be flying home. Thank you all for your support and prayers and offers of help. We feel blessed for this and what a Father’s Day gift. Thank you all.”
In another post he wrote, “Hello I again wanted to thank everyone that help with this Laura is resting and will need some peace with her family. Thank you all.” In the comments he added, “BEST FATHERS DAY EVER.”
3. Nicholson Is Facing at Least 10 Charges, Including Murder, Attempted Murder & Assault
According to Oregon court records, Nicholson is facing 10 charges in Coos County, including six counts of first-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and two counts of failure to perform duties of a driver to injured persons. Additional charges could be filed in Lane County related to the kidnapping of Johnson. Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier said the six murder charges were filed for administrative purposes, but there are three victims.
Friends of one of the victims, Jennifer Davidson, have started a GoFundMe campaign to help her family. Michelle LaRiviere, the mother of Davidson’s son’s best friend, wrote on the GoFundMe, “This mother’s son just graduated high school and his mother was working to provide his education for him to better himself through college. Tragically his mother’s life was taken by a gunman who entered her place of work and shot her. Jennifer Davidson was a very loving and nurturing mother who only wanted the best for her son to graduate high school and to go to college to better himself.”
LaRiviere added, “I’m encouraging him to continue on with strength as his mother would want him to do. Funds are not there for Michael to put his mom to rest as his mother was a single mom doing what’s best for her child and setting a good example.”
4. Nicholson Is Scheduled to Appear in Court in Wisconsin Prior to His Extradition to Oregon
Nicholson is being held on a fugitive from justice charge in Wisconsin after a warrant for his arrest was issued in Coos County, Oregon. Nicholson is set to appear in a Milwaukee court to begin the extradition process, according to prosecutors.
Frasier, the district attorney for Coos County, said at the press conference they were still working on determining the details of why Nicholson turned himself in, and added, “I can tell you he did turn himself in and there wasn’t any incident or trouble in taking him into custody.” Frasier said an arrest warrant was issued with a bail of $7 million.
According to the Coos County district attorney, Nicholson’s court appearance will be during the week of June 21, but an exact date and time were not immediately available. It is not clear if Nicholson has hired or been appointed an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Heavy could not reach his family for comment.
“Mr. Nicholson has a constitutional right regarding extradition. He could waive extradition and return to Oregon and that process would be rather quick if he were to do that. If he chooses to do so, which he has the right to do so, he can contest extradition and require that I submit paperwork to the governor of Oregon requesting that she issue a governor’s warrant and send it to the governor of Wisconsin requesting the governor of Wisconson to release Mr. Nicholson to our custody,” Fraiser said. “This is a procedure that is spelled out in our United States constitution. That process can take some time.” He said a case years ago took several months for a suspect to be returned to Oregon to face murder charges.
“When he’s going to get back here, we don’t know,” Frasier said. “We hope it’s rather quickly. But it could be some time before he gets back here.”
Police are still working to investigate the killings, along with the kidnapping, and determine a motive for the crimes, authorities said. “There’s a lot of work left to be done, but I want to thank every agency involved for their diligent work and the work of their personnel,” North Bend Police Chief Robert Kappelman told reporters at a press conference on Sunday after Nicholson’s arrest.
5. Nicholson Has Lived in Encinitas, California, According to Public Records
Nicholson has lived in Encinitas, California, according to public records. His father, Charles Nicholson, was also a California resident until 2019, when he moved to Oregon, records show. According to KVAL, the younger Nicholson is believed to have been living in the North Bend area since at least October 2020.
Few other details about Oen Nicholson were immediately available. He does not appear to have a criminal record in Oregon or California. Anyone with information about Nicholson or the case are asked to contact the North Bend Police Department, authorities said.
Kappelman said at a press conference, “The work for these families that have been affected by this that work can’t be done without the support from all around and we felt that. … The earnestness in working on this case was first and foremost for the safety of the public and so there’s always a sigh of relief when your suspect is in custody.”