July 4, 2008
Wilberger Family Signals It Could Accept Plea Deal
By Associated Press
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The parents of Brooke Wilberger, a former BYU student, have signaled they would support a plea deal should the man accused of abducting and killing their daughter four years ago reveal the whereabouts of her remains.
That came in a statement Benton County District Attorney John Heraldson released Wednesday on the family's behalf.
Joel Courtney is being held without bail in Benton County. A trial is not expected to begin before 2010.
Brooke Wilberger, 19, disappeared on May 24, 2004, from a Corvallis apartment building parking lot. She is presumed dead.
The prosecutor has said he would seek the death penalty.
"We remain committed to the recovery of Brooke's remains, and fully support the Benton County District Attorney's efforts to do so within a reasonable period of time," read the statement from Greg and Cammy Wilberger.
"In a criminal case, there can be a fully contested trial, and there can be a negotiated resolution," the statement said. "We completely support the Benton County District Attorney's Office in their approach to the case, whether through trial or a timely negotiated resolution."
Haroldson said he had not asked for the statement nor advised the family about it. He released it to two Oregon newspapers, the Gazette-Times in Corvallis and the Register-Guard in Eugene, near the Wilbergers' home in Veneta.
He said it was a response to numerous requests from reporters for comment after the 42-year-old Courtney was extradited from New Mexico in April. That followed his conviction on charges of kidnapping and raping a Russian foreign exchange student.
Brooke Wilberger was in Corvallis helping at the apartment complex her sister managed. She was on summer break after completing her freshman year at Brigham Young University in Provo.
(c) 2008 Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.