Jury convicts Hare Krishna devotee of friend’s murder

Trial – Satya Krishna Dasa, 31, who could face the death penalty, said the victim cuckolded him

Satya Krishna Dasa, a devotee of the Hare Krishna belief system of peace and harmony, was found guilty Tuesday of killing his best friend for cuckolding him.

The Multnomah County Circuit Court jury needed just three hours Monday and less than an hour Tuesday to convict Dasa, 31, of the Dec. 20, 2003, aggravated murder of Yuri Bukshin. The jury also convicted Dasa of the attempted aggravated murder of Bukshin’s wife, Rebeca Webster.

Dasa took the stand in his own defense during the six-week trial. He said he was living in Eugene in 2003 with his wife and four daughters when he learned that Bukshin, his best friend, was having an affair with Dasa’s wife.

Dasa testified that Bukshin invited him to Bukshin’s Northeast Portland home to talk. Dasa said he arrived at 2:30 a.m., and Bukshin confronted him.

Dasa admitted that he had come prepared to kill Bukshin, carrying a socket wrench and other weapons. Dasa bludgeoned Bukshin with the wrench, and stabbed or slashed him more than 20 times.

Dasa then went into the bedroom where Webster was with the couple’s 2-year-old son. She testified that Dasa sat on the bed and then repeatedly thrust a knife into her chest. When the knife broke, she said, Dasa tried to smother her with a pillow.

Prosecutors Stacy Heyworth and Susan Howard scoffed at Dasa’s version of events. They said that he had planned to kill Bukshin all along and that the attack on Webster was incidental.

The jury will return Monday to consider whether to sentence Dasa to death. After the jury left for the day Tuesday, Dasa reiterated a demand, issued before and throughout the trial, to represent himself in the penalty phase of the case.

Dasa said he wanted to prevent his lawyers from calling his four daughters as witnesses next week. He also said he did not believe his court-appointed lawyers, Chris Clayhold and Forrest Rieke, had adequately represented him.

Judge Michael McShane cautioned Dasa that he probably would not be prepared to represent himself on Monday. The judge also pointed out that Dasa now has a credibility problem with the jurors.

“From this verdict, Mr. Dasa, you can say that they felt you lied on the stand,” the judge said.

McShane denied Dasa’s request.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Oregonian, USA
May 3, 2006
Anne Saker

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday May 3, 2006.
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