- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A teenager who raped and severely beat a woman outside Autzen Stadium last fall has been charged with killing a woman at a suburban Portland apartment complex.

Jaime Tinoco, 17, was arrested Wednesday on aggravated murder and weapons charges, Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett said. Investigators believe the Aug. 19 attack on Nicole Laube was sexually motivated, but the 29-year-old mother was not raped before she was fatally stabbed.

“A stranger-to-stranger murder, with almost no physical evidence, is about the most difficult case you can ask detectives to solve, and that’s what they were up against in this case,” Garrett said.

Tinoco was sentenced last week to more than 14 years in prison for a rape that occurred Sept. 13 during a group outing for young offenders to a University of Oregon game in Eugene.

After the sentencing, a Eugene detective questioned Tinoco about Laube’s killing. Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Ray said the detective got “significant information” that led to this week’s grand jury indictment, but he wouldn’t elaborate.

Tinoco had been a prime suspect for months in Laube’s killing. When detectives heard the Eugene rape had been committed by a Washington County teen, they checked his background and noticed he lived with his parents across the road from the complex where Laube had been hanging lease-renewal fliers on the day of her death.

Ray said a search warrant was served on the parents’ home, but he would not say what evidence was found, if any.

“We believe he was out looking for someone to assault, and, unfortunately for Nicole Laube, they crossed paths that day,” Ray said.

Tinoco is in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority until he turns 18 on Friday. He is expected to have a public defender assigned to him at his arraignment, which has yet to be scheduled.

Nicole Laube’s husband, Chris Laube, said he had to pinch himself to make sure the news of the arrest was not a cruel April Fool’s Day joke.

“Throughout all this time, there were leads and things - you go one direction, you go the other direction,” he said. “Then to finally get that call that today is the day, and it happens to be April 1, you wonder, ‘Is this a joke?’”

Nicole Laube’s father, Rich Jones, a Hillsboro pastor, said the months that had gone by with the crime unsolved only deepened the grief of losing his first-born daughter and watching her young children grow up without their mother.

“We cannot wrap our minds around what has happened,” he said. “The degree of depravity to commit such a horrific crime is unfathomable.”

Sheriff Garrett on Wednesday defended the county Juvenile Department, which organized the trip to Autzen Stadium as part of a program to help teens who had been in trouble with the law.

A judge had sentenced Tinoco to supervised probation in July following convictions on charges of burglary, harassment and possession of methamphetamines. He escaped supervision after the game that drew more than 56,000 fans.

Garrett said he understands the media questions, but, “I just don’t know how one could predict the murderous brutality and the apparent complete disregard for human life.”

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Follow Steven DuBois at https://twitter.com/pdxdub .

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