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Spiritual healer convicted in killing.

Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

A Nevada jury on Monday found a spiritual healer from Eugene guilty of using a baseball bat to fatally beat his brother-in-law in 2010.

Timothy Wayne Morgan, 27, was convicted of second-degree murder with a deadly weapon in Eric Dee Preimesberger's death.

Jurors who heard evidence in Morgan's murder trial last week in Reno, Nev., deliberated 1 1/2 hours before returning the guilty verdict on Monday afternoon, Washoe County deputy district attorney Derek Dreiling said.

"We're satisfied that justice has been done," Dreiling said.

Morgan's attorneys presented no evidence on his behalf, and Morgan did not testify in his own defense.

Morgan could be sentenced to anywhere from 10 years to life in prison when he returns to court in July, Dreiling said.

Before his arrest, Morgan regularly performed "sound healings" in Eugene, and was viewed by some as a spiritual guru. The alternative therapy technique uses vibrational sounds to treat stress and physical ailments.

One of his followers, a 20-year-old Eugene man, testified that he unknowingly helped Morgan transport Preimesberger's body to a forested area of Northern California, where Morgan buried the body after instructing the younger man to turn his back.

The man "was duped into going on a spiritual journey" with Morgan, Dreiling said.

The man said he believed that Morgan, who told him he had to dispose of a "bad entity," had conducted an animal sacrifice as part of a ritual, police said.

The man informed police of the incident and led investigators to the body after learning in August 2010 that Morgan and his sister, Kristi Preimesberger, had been arrested in Minnesota in connection with Eric Preimesberger's disappearance.

Authorities said Morgan went to Reno in April 2010 to help his sister and her husband move to Eugene, where they had planned to start a yurt-building business.

Police said Preimesberger was killed inside his Reno home sometime after Morgan arrived there.

Preimesberger's wife testified during the trial that her husband was seated on a couch when Morgan struck him in the back of the head with a baseball bat after an argument, Dreiling said.

Morgan then used the bat to hit Preimesberger a second time, Dreiling said.

Morgan told investigators after his arrest that he struck Preimesberger with the bat because he believed his sister would be harmed in a domestic dispute.

Kristi Preimesberger admitted to helping Morgan move her husband's dead body into a rental car after the killing, Dreiling said.

The siblings never called police, which began an investigation after Preimesberger's mother reported him missing in May 2010.

Kristi Preimesberger moved to Eugene with her two children eight days after her husband disappeared. She subsequently told detectives that her husband had left her after a heated argument, police said.

Kristi Preimesberger, who now lives in Southern California, does not face any charges in connection with her husband's death.

"There's really no evidence that she did anything other than not help (investigators) afterward," Dreiling said.

In another odd twist, Eric Preimesberger's mother, New Mexico resident Kay Wilson, said Monday that she is convinced Morgan is not her son's killer.

"There is no satisfaction" in seeing Morgan convicted, Wilson said. "They have the wrong person."

Dreiling said he is aware of Wilson's opinion - and added that it's the first time in his 15 years as a prosecutor that a murder victim's family has expressed discontent because someone has been convicted of killing a loved one.

Dreiling pointed out that Morgan's attorneys never suggested in court that anyone but their client was responsible for Preimesberger's death.
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Title Annotation:Local News; A jury in Nevada finds the man killed his brother-in law during a domestic dispute
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1U8NV
Date:May 8, 2012
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