(Oregonian) Benito Vasquez-Hernandez has orange canvas slip-ons, a single spoon, a wristband he wears at all times. He has little else.
He lives in a small cell with a single window high above his head and sleeps on a skinny mattress resting on a cinderblock frame.
Vasquez-Hernandez is treated like any other inmate in the Washington County Jail. But he's unlike every other inmate there.
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At 897 days and counting, the 59-year-old may be the longest-held material witness in Oregon and perhaps the nation. He's waiting to testify in a murder case.
Legal experts are aware of no other witness jailed for so long. While no one appears to systematically track such cases, a law professor recalls only one similar instance - more than a century ago, in California.
In Oregon, a judge can keep material witnesses in custody until they testify, or release them pending trial. Under state law, material witness holds have no expiration, but detention typically lasts less than a week.