I was a corrections officer for 20 years when I found out my brother had shot and killed someone. I was at the airport, on the way home from a vacation with my husband at Zihuatanejo, Mexico. On the airplane there was a small boy who was leaning against me, sleeping as tears ran down my face. All I could think of was my sweet baby brother, Luke, and this small child leaning against me, comforting me as I sobbed.
Luke was found guilty of first-degree murder, which is 25 to life with probation for the rest of his life.
Luke was strangled by David Ryder. Luke’s DNA was under both of Ryder’s hands/fingernails. Luke had strangulation/claw marks on both sides of his neck.
Luke was sexually assaulted. DNA was collected as evidence. Luke gave a verbal and shotgun warning to Ryder to leave the house. An ejected round and verbal warning were part of the evidence.
The prosecutor, Mary Anderson, stated that David Ryder was leaving the house, yet if you read the police report and trial transcripts you’ll observe that David Ryder’s feet had to be stepped over by police officers going to the hallway towards the bedrooms. Not the front door.
Luke put pajama bottoms on after the assault to protect himself. If your pants have been pulled off, your head shoved on an erect penis and you’re violently strangled, you run and protect.
Hundreds of people a year are killed due to strangulation. Luke was strangled, that’s lethal force. Lethal force justifies self defense. Luke described the whole incident right up until the moment that he pulled the trigger. A person who tells you this, is not a “storyteller” as prosecutor Mary Anderson called him, they are telling the truth. Luke passed a polygraph.
FACTS: The shotgun shot was on an upward trajectory in a self-defense manner.
Luke gave a warning with an ejected shotgun shell and a verbal warning to leave the house and to stop advancing.
FACTS: There was no evidence of a consensual relationship. No physical evidence, no DNA, no text, phone calls or emails.
FACTS: David Ryder was violent, according to the Navy, according to Kentucky police officers, according to his co-workers at G-5. He had a prior domestic violence charge and police reports stated that he gave his girlfriend two black eyes and a broken nose.
Evidence was not admitted into the first trial that was pertinent to what happened to Luke. David Ryder stated that he’d like to rape a passed out man and he had depictions of violent sex acts on his cell phone.
As a corrections officer for 24 years I know violence. I’ve seen violence and rage — have you? It exists and it happened to my brother, Luke Wirkkala, in his own home in Bend, Oregon and after he was strangled and sexually assaulted, he was booked, tried and found guilty of first-degree murder. Please help justice prevail and free Luke. Please visit www.freelukewirkkala.com and change.org