Murderer makes headway in suit against hostage

Murderer makes headway in suit against hostage »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - A man convicted of murder is now targeting one of his victims again, and he's winning in court.

An Oregon inmate who killed one man in 2006 is now suing his former hostage.

It all started over an $18,000 order for an ice cream truck.
 
The hostage victim, Rob Chambers, used to build ice cream trucks and he built one for a customer in New York. That customer turned into a killer, deciding to commit murder when he couldn't get a refund.

Now in prison, the convicted killer - Tremayne Durham - is using the courts to get the refund. And he's having success.

Facing eviction and the loss of his business, Rob Chambers can't afford a lawyer so he's going to fight this convicted killer on his own, in court.

Durham still wants his money back, all $18,000 - even after he confessed to murdering Adam Calbreath. Calbreath was someone Chambers considered as a loyal friend.

"He protected me, and gave the ultimate sacrifice to me," Chambers said. "I don't know how to repay it."

Durham is serving 30 years for murdering Calbreath and taking Chambers hostage while shoving a gun in his stomach.

"He had said, 'Look at what you made me do,'" Chambers recounts. "He said, 'I've been robbing and killing people to get to you.'"

Now Durham is going after Chambers again, only without a gun and with a lawsuit. Durham is even demanding reimbursement for his travel expenses from New York - for the trip he took to gun down Chambers' friend.

Since the murder, Chambers said he has suffered unending guilt and grief.

"I lost my abilities to function; that's what makes me the most angry," Chambers said. "One of these days he's going to get the feeling he won somehow over me."

Chambers escaped from Durham in 2006, but says he doesn't feel alive.

"There are days that I honestly wish he would have pulled the trigger," Chambers said. "He doesn't deserve the satisfaction of knowing this, but he took my life."

Since Chambers did not respond to letters from the court, an arbitrator already has ruled in Durham's favor. But it's not over. Chambers plans to be at a hearing Wednesday to face Durham once again, in court.

"I'm not going to be the victim in this anymore," Chamber said.

Durham made international news for his unusual plea deal in 2006. He agreed to plead guilty in exchange for his favorite foods from KFC and some Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

Chambers said the deal felt like a slap in the face and wishes Durham had been forced to face the family of the man he murdered.

 

UPDATE:

Rob Chambers is scheduled to appear at an arbitration hearing Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. KATU has been told that Chambers is there, and represented by an attorney who volunteered his time after seeing the story on KATU.

We're told that Tremayne Durham will be calling in from the state penitentiary to participate. Meanwhile, Durham’s criminal trial lawyer, Richard Wolf, tells KATU that Durham did indeed pay Rob Chambers $18,000 for the ice cream truck. However,  Wolfe said Chambers had not provided the parts Durham needed to get the truck put together at the time of Calbreath's murder.

Meanwhile, said Wolf, Durham had paid for the parts and - on Chambers' request - asked the parts manufacturer to send the needed parts to Adam Calbreath’s home. Durham went to Calbreath’s home, and Calbreath was shot there.

Now Durham wants all of that money back, saying it is rightfully his.

Chambers did not tell KATU why he did not respond to the initial court letters.