Gresham

Man to plead guilty to murdering Whitney Heichel, widower says

Man to plead guilty to murdering Whitney Heichel, widower says
Jonathan Holt appears in a booking photo taken Sunday at the Clackamas County Jail.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The man accused of shooting to death a Gresham woman and then dumping her body on Larch Mountain last year will plead guilty to killing her, the woman's widower told KATU News Wednesday.

A change of plea hearing is set for 25-year-old Jonathan Holt July 2 at 1:30 p.m., according to Clackamas County court records. He's accused of killing 21-year-old Whitney Heichel.

Heichel's widower, Clint, said the district attorney's office told him it is working on a deal with Holt and he will plead guilty to killing his wife.

Police say Holt asked Whitney for a ride on the morning of Oct. 16, 2012. Then ordered her at gunpoint to drive toward Roslyn Lake in Clackamas County where he sexually assaulted her and then shot her.

When it was discovered Whitney was missing, friends and members of her church launched a search for her.

During the search, Heichel's vehicle, a 1999 Ford Explorer, was found abandoned in the parking lot of the Wood Village WalMart. A window was shattered and the inside was a mess. Then more clues turned up - her cell phone was found outside a Troutdale apartment complex and her sweater was found along Dodge Park Boulevard east of Gresham.

The investigation eventually led to Holt and he was arrested.

Holt lived in the same apartment complex as the Heichels and was also a member of the couple's church.

Holt also faces charges of burglary and encouraging child sex abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which are in connection with information that was discovered during Whitney Heichel's murder investigation. It is unknown if Holt will plead guilty to those charges during the July hearing.