Marion Co. Dist. Attorney's Office
Oregon State Police Detective Pleads Guilty - 12/05/14
Today, Detective Clinton David Steele of the Oregon State Police pled guilty to Forgery in the First Degree, a Class C Felony and Official Misconduct in the First Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor. The Honorable Jamese Rhoades arraigned Steele on the charges, and then accepted Steele's guilty pleas to both counts. Pursuant to an agreement between the State and the Defendant, she sentenced Steele to 18 months supervised probation, which is the presumptive sentence under Oregon Felony Sentencing Guidelines. He will be required to report to a probation officer and pay fines and fees associated with his conviction. Furthermore, he has surrendered his police officer certification through the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and resigned his position with the Oregon State Police, effective immediately.
These charges stem from his handling of the federal murder investigations regarding defendants David 'Joey' Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby.
Steele was assigned by the Oregon State Police as the lead detective in the federal multi-state investigation regarding multiple homicides committed by Pedersen and Grigsby in 2011. During the federal prosecution of that case, questionable behavior by Steele was identified, specifically the handling of photographic evidence and his filing of a sworn federal declaration as a result. The Marion County District Attorney's Office and the Salem Police Department were asked to review conduct of Steele for potential criminal charges. However, following a full investigation the Marion County District Attorney's Office determined criminal conduct regarding that incident could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and no charges were filed, but it did trigger a District Attorney's internal audit into all cases in which Steele had an investigatory role.
Parallel with that audit, the Oregon State Police also continued their internal review of Steele's conduct and investigatory processes with regard to the Pedersen/Grigsby murders. Based upon that continuing review, additional concerning behavior was identified and the Marion County District Attorney's Office and the Salem Police Department were once again asked to investigate whether Steele had committed yet a different criminal offense. This time, after another thorough investigation conducted by the Salem Police Department, it was determined that Steele had committed a crime.
This behavior involved anomalies in Steele's submitted reports in the Pedersen/Grigsby case. Specifically, he photocopied the cover sheet to a supervisor-signed and approved report in the Pedersen/Grigsby case and then hand-altered the date and page numbers. He then proceeded to attach it to another report in that same case, bypassing the need to have his supervisor review and approve it. His altered cover-sheet thus gave the appearance of having been created before it actually was. As these reports are public records and must be signed by a supervisor, his photocopied version amounted to a forgery of that supervisor's signature.
Steele's plea today acknowledges his criminal conduct with regard to these reports. The Salem Police Department and the Marion County District Attorney's Office have not been asked to review any other conduct by Steele related to the Pedersen/Grigsby murders.
In cooperation with the Oregon State Police, the Salem Police Department (where Steele was briefly employed) and the Oregon Department of Justice, the Marion County District Attorney's Office is still currently in the process of auditing all of Steele's previous criminal investigations since December of 2001, which is when he began his career. At the conclusion of that audit, steps will be taken to notify affected parties, their counsel and/or the Court of Steele's role and any effect it may have had upon appropriate disposition of any case.
All inquiries about the status of any federal investigation into Steele's conduct should be directed to the US Attorney's Office.
Oregon State Police Detective To Be Charged - 12/03/14
Detective Clinton David Steele of the Oregon State Police is scheduled to appear before The Honorable Jamese Rhoades on Friday December 5, 2014 at 11 AM at the Marion County Courthouse located at 100 High Street NE Salem, Oregon to be arraigned on charges of Forgery in the First Degree, a Class C Felony and Official Misconduct in the First Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor.
It is anticipated that at that time Detective Steele will proceed to guilty pleas to both counts. Sentencing will follow.
These charges arise out of Detective Steele's handling of the Federal Murder Investigations regarding defendants David 'Joey' Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby.
As this is a pending investigation, no further information can be provided at this time.