On Monday morning, May 22, a man set fire to a Corvallis residence at 413 N.W. 27th St. and broke into the home, attacking five residents and stabbing several. The 22-year-old man charged with the attack, Benjamin Leland Bucknell, attended at least one class at LBCC’s Benton Center. Bucknell is currently being held at the Benton County jail.
An LBCC instructor recognized Bucknell’s picture in the news as a student attending class this term and immediately notified the school. On Wednesday an LBCC Public Safety officer told the class that Bucknell had been officially removed from enrollment in the class and has been “no trespassed” from LB campuses. Students expressed both shock and concern.
Bucknell plead not guilty to 20 charges in Benton County Court on Tuesday, May 23, and faces a $1.1 million bail set by Judge Locke A. Williams. Charges included three counts of attempted murder, three counts of attempted felony murder, three counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, one count of first-degree burglary, one count of resisting arrest, and one count of second-degree criminal mischief.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Amie Matusko read a statement at the hearing from a victim’s father and requested bail at $3 million, according to the Gazette Times. Albany attorney Thomas Hill has been appointed to defend Bucknell.
According to court records, Bucknell was on conditional release from jail when the May 22 assault occurred. He’d been charged on May 16 with second-degree burglary, first and second-degree criminal mischief after allegedly breaking into The Retreat in Corvallis and damaging property. The Retreat offers off-campus housing for students near OSU and is one of the most popular student living spaces in the area.
Two of the five victims are current OSU students, and one a former student. Bucknell attended OSU as a forestry major and was enrolled in fall term, reported the Gazette Times.
“The whole thing [attack] lasted about, you know, maybe two minutes,” Nolan Butuso told KVAL News in a live interview. “Doesn’t seem like super long but it felt like an eternity.”
Butuso, a current OSU student and resident of the home, described himself as “one of the lucky ones;” he received far less severe injuries than his roommates during the attack. Three other victims remain in hospital care and have undergone several surgeries but are in stable condition.
Other injured victims include Catherine Elizabeth Lisman, Dan Rinkevich, Evan Burns and Jesus A. Valencia-Camacho. Nadav Mouallem is the victim of a criminal mischief charge against Bucknell.
Valencia-Camacho was life-flighted to a Portland hospital with a severe eye injury.
“He’s the nicest guy I’ve ever met,” said Butuso. “It’s kind of like the last person you’d ever expect it to happen to was this man.”
A GoFundMe with a goal of $100,000 has been set up to relieve the financial burden the victims will face.
Butuso described his roommates as close group intending to support each other throughout the ordeal.
“I think that’s really the most important thing— is getting through this together,” Butuso told KVAL.
Story by Emily Goodykoontz