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Portland man who fatally stabbed brother

Dec 22, 2023Dec 22, 2023

FILEFile photo

The parents of a Portland man killed for refusing to turn down his music said the death of their son, James A. Anderson, remains "remote and unreal" as his killer was sentenced Tuesday to 7 ½ years in prison.

The killer – Anderson's brother-in-law, Jonathan C. Creswell – muttered under his breath and did not otherwise speak except to answer procedural questions. He pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and unlawful use of a knife as part of a plea deal. He was previously charged with second-degree murder.

Creswell, 34, was living in a tiny house parked in the driveway of Anderson's home on North Interstate Place when the two began arguing on the evening of Sept. 20, 2020, about the rock music playing on Anderson's stereo, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police arrived at the Kenton neighborhood property the next morning after Creswell called dispatchers and admitted to stabbing Anderson, 45, in the torso with a 3-inch paring knife, the affidavit says.

Creswell later told investigators he knocked on his brother-in-law's door to re-engage in the dispute while carrying a knife. He claimed he acted in self-defense because Anderson put his hand on Creswell's shoulder, the court document says.

James Allen Anderson is shown here in an undated family photo.Courtesy: Portland Police Bureau

In a victim impact statement read by a prosecutor in court, Bernard Anderson praised his son as an avid fisher, poet and all-around aesthete who loved music, films, books and "narratives of all sorts."

"His potential was great — whether to be a scholar, an artist, linguist, a scientist, writer, or sportsperson," Bernard Anderson said in the statement. "Virtually, whatever he chose to be."

James Anderson grew up in Papua New Guinea and is survived by his wife, who is Creswell's sister, and a daughter.

Creswell was briefly evaluated in January for possible treatment at the state psychiatric hospital but was determined to be mentally fit for trial, records show.

"It will not give me peace for James’ murderer to suffer," said Anderon's mother, Linda Anderson. "I want him to get the help he needs so that he can acknowledge the full impact of his actions and to eventually make amends by living a decent life. I would like him to use his own pain around the loss of James as a means to help others."

Circuit Judge Christopher Marshall granted Creswell credit for time served and eligibility for sentence reduction programs while in prison.

— Zane Sparling; [email protected]; 503-319-7083; @pdxzane

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