Wednesday, March 13, 2002
I appreciate good news reporting because I depend on it. So why am I nitpicking Hood River News' Tamiyasu murder article of March 6? Well, explain to me why Don Dixon's picture is on the front page and why he is a "person of interest."
Detective Gerry Tiffany and District Attorney John Sewell stated that most of the rumors involving Wampler have been traced back to Dixon. Sewell further stated, "It's troubling to us that someone who claimed to be such a close friend of the deceased had a hand in spreading rumors that are damaging to good people and take time away from investigating a murder . . ."
Is rumor mongering sufficient for naming a "person of interest" in a murder case? Why is Tiffany even investigating rumors? Rumors are news media business.
I have only heard two basic rumors concerning the sheriff's office. No. 1 -- the handling of the crime scene and this rumor was attributed to Dixon. No. 2 -- that Wampler's wife was socially connected to Eric and because of it Wampler had turned the investigation over to another agency. Source unknown. We now know that half of this rumor is false. The Dixon rumor persisted for seven months and was finally confirmed as true by the Oregonian. And now, why wouldn't a good friend raise hell when he saw the crime scene being sanitized?
I have read the Tamiyasu article a couple of times and see nothing to warrant putting Dixon's picture and name in the paper as a "person of interest." It appears to me that you have permitted the Sheriff's Department and District Attorney to use your paper in a vendetta against Mr. Dixon.
I do not know Don Dixon, but my advice to him is, "If you are innocent, stop trying to prove it." Let an attorney handle the hoops. They are reluctant jumpers.