Washington County Killers Die in 2009

Release date: 01/28/2010
Sponsored by: District Attorney Department

2009 Ends Final Chapter on Two Notorious Washington County Killers


Perhaps the two most prolific killers in Washington County history both died in 2009, albeit in a decidedly different manner.  Cesar Barone, 49, whose true name was Adolph James Rode, died Christmas Eve in the Oregon State Penitentiary of natural causes related to a tumor on his heart.  John Fautenberry, 45, died July 14, 2009 in the Ohio State Penitentiary where he was executed by the State of Ohio for the murder he committed there in early 1991.

Barone was clearly the most familiar to Washington County residents.  He lived and worked in Washington County in the early 1990's and committed sexual assaults and homicides of women at a rate hard to imagine.  In early 1994 Barone was prosecuted and convicted for a series of burglaries, and attempted and completed sexual assaults against numerous victims, many of whom were older women.  The most publicized of his crimes, however, was the October 1992 aggravated murder of nurse/midwife Martha Bryant, 41.  Barone shot at the car of Ms. Bryant as she drove home from Tuality Hospital on Cornell Road early one morning after helping in the birth of a child.  He pulled the wounded Bryant from her car, transported her to another location blocks away where he sexually assaulted her and shot her in the head.

In a trial beginning in late October 1994 prosecutors, now District Attorney Bob Hermann and now Chief Deputy Roger Hanlon, began a jury trial for that murder that lasted until late January 1995. The jury found Barone guilty of the charges, and in the penalty phase of the trial answered the legal questions resulting in a death sentence.  On January 31, 1995 Judge Michael McElligott sentenced Barone to death.

The same prosecution team began a second trial in mid-October 1995, this time for three additional murders.  In that trial Barone was prosecuted for the murder of Chantee Woodman, 23, who in December 1992 Barone, with an accomplice, kidnapped, raped and ultimately executed.  He shot her and left her body along the side of US Highway 26 in Western Washington County.  In addition, Barone was tried for the murders of Margaret Schmidt and Betty Williams. Schmidt, 61, was found strangled in her home in April 1991 in Hillsboro.  Her home had been burglarized and she had been sexually assaulted.  Williams, 51, died in January 1993 in her Cornelius apartment.  Initially listed as a suspicious death, the on-going investigation linked her death to Barone and revealed Williams died of a heart attack during a sexual assault by Barone.

The second trial lasted until early December 1995 with similar results.  Jurors convicted Barone of all three murders and, like the first jury, answered all the legal questions that resulted in death sentences.  Judge Michael McElligott formally sentenced Barone to death for the aggravated murders of Schmidt and Woodman.  The judge ordered an additional 530 month sentence for the felony murder of Williams.

Barone appealed his convictions and death sentences to no avail. The Oregon Supreme Court and ultimately the United States Supreme Court affirmed his murder convictions and death sentences.  Through his lawyer Barone continued his fight using Oregon post-conviction relief proceedings to further attack his convictions.  Inexplicably those cases languished in a Marion County Court for almost nine years with no trial.  Ironically, though, his efforts to cheat death by delaying the legal process ended at age 49.

At the time of Barone's death he remained the suspect in deaths in both Florida and Washington County.

To learn more about Cesar Barone's case, read the Oregonian article or the paperback, "Dead of Night, the True Story of a Serial Killer" by Don Lasseter.

Fautenberry's connection to Washington County was much different from Barone, as was his manner of death.  His propensity to kill, however, was similar.  A truck driver by trade, Fautenberry traveled across the United States.  While in Oregon in early 1991 he befriended Christine Guthrie, 33, in Portland.  As he later admitted, he eventually tired of Guthrie and needed money to move on.  He took her to a remote area in Washington County on the pretense of a nature walk, shot her in the head three times and took her credit card.  He also confessed to the November 1990 killing of Donald Nutley in Clackamas County.  New Jersey, Alaska, and Ohio prosecuted him for murders in their states.  He received a death sentence in Ohio in 1993 for the early 1991 murder of Joseph Daron Jr., 46, an Ohio salesman who had picked up the hitchhiking Fautenberry east of Cincinnati.  He also confessed to a killing in Douglas County in the 1980's.

As did Barone, Fautenberry appealed his convictions and death sentence in Ohio and lost.  Unlike Barone, however, Fautenberry's legal battles were concluded more expeditiously.  As District Attorney Bob Hermann stated in a letter to Ohio governor Ted Strickland during Fautenberry's clemency petition review process, "Some argue that the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst.  John Fautenberry made repeated decisions to put himself in that category."  

Some 18 plus years after the murder and 16 years after his trial, Fautenberry was put to death.