Indictment: Double homicide in Bend was murder for hire

October 12, 2021 GMT

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Prosecutors now believe two men accused of killing two people in a home in Bend in 2020 were involved in a murder-for-hire scheme.

Kenneth Atkinson, 57, and Nathan Detroit II appeared Monday in Deschutes County Circuit Court to face a new indictment and a new charge, The Bulletin reported.

The co-defendants are accused of first-degree murder under the theory Atkinson paid his nephew Detroit to kill Atkinson’s brother and the brother’s fiancee.

On Oct. 1, the men were arrested at their homes, over a year after Ray Atkinson Jr. and Natasha Newby were found dead in a Bend home. The bodies of Atkinson Jr. and Newby were found by concerned friends in August 2020.

The home belonged to the Atkinsons’ father, Ray Atkinsons Sr., who died in 2019 without a will. The sons feuded in court for control of the father’s $400,000 estate, according to court records.


Investigators suspected Atkinson Jr.’s brother, Ken, was responsible, motivated to obtain a financial interest in their late father’s estate, and that he had help from another person.

But officials have said they only recently received evidence of Detroit’s involvement. The co-defendants are being held without bail at the Deschutes County jail.

They made their first court appearance Oct. 4. Four days later, the state presented its case to a grand jury, calling 26 witnesses to testify and demonstrating the extensive scope of the criminal investigation.

On Monday, Ken Atkinson, a former prison guard in Nevada, appeared in court by video as did Detroit.

Ken Atkinson and Detroit are both charged with four counts of first-degree murder and two of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

The co-defendants have been assigned local public defenders. Detroit is represented by Dylan Potter. Ken Atkinson is represented by Shawn Kollie. Potter and Kollie declined to comment to the newspaper.