Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced today that a Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge sentenced Christopher Edward Knipe, 48, to 17 years in prison for the 2019 vehicular killing of Sean Kealiher.
On October 12, 2019, officers from Portland Police Bureau’s Central Precinct were dispatched to an incident in the area of Northeast 8th Avenue and Davis Street. When officers arrived, they found an SUV crashed into the side of a commercial building. There were no victims or witnesses at the scene. Police learned that an injured person had been dropped off at a local hospital after being transported by a private vehicle. The victim was identified as Sean D. Kealiher, 23, who died shortly after arriving at the hospital due to blunt force trauma from having been struck by a vehicle. After a lengthy investigation, PPB identified Christopher Edward Knipe as one of three people in the suspect vehicle. It wasn’t until Knipe’s confession on June 27, 2022, that police were able to conclusively identify him as the driver. The DA’s Office presented charges to a grand jury, which voted to indict Knipe on August 15, 2022.
Plea and Sentencing
Deputy District Attorney Brad Kalbaugh and Senior Deputy District Attorney Mariel Mota represented the state in this case. As part of a plea agreement negotiated with the defendant and his counsel, Knipe pled guilty this afternoon to one count of Manslaughter in the First Degree. Judge Andrew Lavin accepted the plea and imposed the 17-year prison sentence today. Knipe is currently in custody in Multnomah County and will be transported to the Oregon Department of Corrections to serve his sentence.
The DA’s Office thanks the PPB detectives and officers who assisted with this case.