On April 5th, 2021, after more than 8 long years battling a wrongful conviction, Luke Wirkkala was acquitted of second-degree murder, manslaughter I and manslaughter II by an overwhelming 10-2 of the jurors of Deschutes County, Oregon. More details will be published to the Free Luke Wirkkala website shortly, but for now:
Not guilty, not guilty, not guilty! "Mr. Wirkkala, you are free to go." - Judge Miller
Welcome home, Luke!
Nothing in life can prepare you to be the victim of strangulation and a violent sexual assault and attempted rape. And nothing in life can prepare you to be sent to prison for 25 years to life because you defended yourself from your attacker in your own home.
Luke was sexually assaulted and strangled in his own Bend, Oregon home, Luke's girlfriend and two children sleeping in the nearby bedrooms after a night of Super Bowl celebrations with their new friend, David Ryder. Luke never could have imagined how that night would transpire, and change all their lives forever: After having too many beers, he'd wake up to David forcing himself onto him, most of his clothing having been removed as he lay passed out on the couch. He'd fight David off of him, an ex-navy man who outweighed Luke by 50 lb. He could never have imagined having to run to the bedroom to grab the shotgun he and Rachel kept under the bed. And never did he imagine David wouldn't choose to turn and leave out the front door, but to charge Luke instead, who only pulled the trigger at the last possible moment, and as proven by forensic evidence.
DNA evidence supports the sexual assault and strangulation, and yet the prosecution deemed it "rough sex"
The prosecution stated that David Ryder was trying to leave the house, but crime scene photos show Ryder advancing towards Luke in the kitchen, passing multiple exits.
Luke pulled the trigger at the last possible moment, as proven in detailed forensic analysis. Luke had retrieved his shotgun, ejected a warning round and told the subject to leave. Instead, David Ryder charged.
David Ryder had a history of violence and non-consensual sexual advances on men, both in the navy and in his workplace as proven by witness testimony.
Luke was convicted of 1st degree murder in Bend, Oregon in 2014 but that trial was vacated in 2017.
Key character evidence against David Ryder was barred by the judge during the first trial. Will that key evidence be barred again during the upcoming March 2021 re-trial?
Luke has sat in jail waiting for his retrial for 3 years, as the prosecution offers him plea deals over and over again, for less and less time. He is being held without bail, and has refused plea deals that would have him out in just two years.
How You Can Help:
Please donate today, to help us cover the costs of the website and ad campaigns to spread this story far and wide, and to show our (in)justice system that people are watching!
Share this campaign far and wide across social media. Help us share Luke's story and bring awareness of the wrongful conviction, numerous bad acts on the part of the Deschutes DA's office.
This fund was set up by the friends, family, and victim advocates in support of Luke Anton Wirkkala and by the Free Luke Wirkkala campaign, demanding a fair and just March 2021 re-trial in Deschutes County, Oregon. #FreeLukeWirkkala and bring him home.