A 57-year-old man is in the Benton County Jail after being charged in the death of a 41-year-old woman.
George Spencer, whose residence was not available, was arraigned Tuesday before Judge Matthew Donahue on charges of felony assault in the second degree, misdemeanor strangulation and misdemeanor assault in the fourth degree in the death of Gina Vargas, address also unknown.
Spencer, who is being represented by court-appointed attorney Mike Flinn, has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. He is being held on $200,000 bail.
Flinn declined to comment for this story, saying he had not had time to review all the details of the case.
The incident began at 4:05 a.m. Monday with a call to 911 from the McDonald’s on Northwest Third Street. Spencer initiated the call and claimed he had been the victim of an assault at a nearby motel room, according to a statement issued Tuesday afternoon by the Corvallis Police Department.
A little more than an hour later, at 5:23 a.m., Spencer called again from the Rodeway Inn to report a property theft. Officers arriving to investigate found Vargas unresponsive on the bed and attempts to administer first aid were unsuccessful as she already was dead, according to police.
Police say Spencer told detectives that he had met Vargas the day before. In addition, police say, Spencer admitted that he had consumed methamphetamine and said he choked Vargas into unconsciousness because he felt he was being “set up.”
The cause of Vargas’ death remains under investigation pending an autopsy and other forensic analysis.
The investigation of Spencer continues, and police said additional charges may be filed.
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