OSU student Andrew Oswalt waives right to jury trial in hate crime case

Joe Wolf, Web & Mobile Manager

Editor’s Note: In the print version of this story, the number of total students who voted the 2018 ASOSU election was incorrect. The actual number was 4,947 votes instead of 4,497.

The right to a trial by jury was waived by Oregon State University Ph.D. candidate Andrew Oswalt, who faces multiple hate crime charges. In a trial readiness hearing held Monday morning, Oswalt signed a document electing to be tried by Benton County Circuit Court Judge David B. Connell alone, which was accepted by the judge.

Oswalt said he did not believe he would have received a fair process in a jury trial because he believes his guilt has been presumed by the media and the public at large.

“I unfortunately do not trust the people of this county,” Oswalt said.

Under Oregon law, either the state or the defendant can choose to forgo a trial by jury, as long as the defendant does so in writing and with the consent of the judge, as in this case.

Oswalt, who gained attention for his white nationalist views first reported in The Barometer, faces three counts of intimidation in the first degree and two counts of criminal mischief in the third degree. Intimidation is a class C felony carrying up to a five year prison sentence. All of the charges relate to Oswalt allegedly placing racist bumper stickers on local activists’ cars in June 2017. Oswalt has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

While Oswalt said he has met some people who he feels could have served impartially on a jury, the defendant believes this group is dwarfed by those who are influenced by what he called the ‘social justice religion.’

The three day trial, which was scheduled in the spring, is still set to begin next Wednesday, Nov. 28 and last three days.

This is a developing story and the The Barometer will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.