Multnomah County
District Attorney

1200 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 5200
Portland, OR 97204
503-988-3162

Multnomah County District Attorney

 
1200 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 5200
| Portland, OR 97204
| 503-988-3162
 

Aaron Christopher Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for 2021 Homicide in Northeast Portland

December 5, 2023

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced today that a Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge sentenced Aaron David Christopher, 43, to 16 years in prison for a homicide at a homeless camp in spring 2021.

Incident

On May 25, 2021 Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detectives, the Portland Fire Bureau, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office initiated a death investigation at a homeless camp at Northeast 78th Avenue and Northeast Schuyler Street. Officers had been dispatched there on a welfare check at about 5:08 p.m. and asked for detectives when they found a person deceased. The victim was identified by the Oregon State Medical Examiner as 24-year-old Joseph Robert Sipe. His cause and manner of death was homicide by blunt force trauma. 

Officers from PPB East Precinct located and detained Aaron Christopher in the 6500 block of Northeast Halsey Street shortly after the incident was reported. The DA’s Office presented the case to a grand jury, which returned a true bill of indictment on June 29, 2021. 

Plea and Sentencing

Deputy District Attorneys Kristen Kyle-Castelli and Aileen Santoyo represented the state in this case. As part of a plea agreement negotiated with the defendant and his counsel, Christopher pled guilty on November 20, 2023, to one count of Manslaughter in the First Degree and one count of Abuse of a Corpse in the First Degree. Judge Christopher Marshall accepted the plea and imposed the 16-year prison sentence on December 4, 2023. 

Christopher is currently in custody at the Multnomah County Detention Center and will be transferred to the Oregon Department of Corrections to serve his sentence.  

The DA’s Office would like to thank PPB Detectives Jennifer Hertzler and Rico Beniga for their work on this case. 

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