Man convicted of murder in 2022 road rage killing of Tigard man

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man was sentenced to lifetime psychiatric commitment Thursday for the fatal shooting of a man in a road rage incident on Highway 18 back in 2022.

In Polk County Circuit Court, 24-year-old Justin McAnulty pled guilty except insane to one count of second-degree murder in the death of 48-year-old Dennis Anderson.

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On July 13, 2022, Oregon State Police said the two men were on the highway near milepost 15, when Anderson pulled over to let McAnulty’s car pass. Police said the driver pulled up to Anderson’s vehicle and when Anderson got out of his car, McAnulty — the driver’s passenger — shot him multiple times.

By the time officers arrived at the scene, Anderson was already dead. His passenger was not struck in the shooting and gave officers a description of the suspect vehicle.

Police arrested and charged McAnulty for the murder in September 2022, after Portland Police Bureau’s SERT Team executed a search warrant on his residence. At that time, he was lodged in the Polk County Jail.

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As a result of his plea, McAnulty was sentenced to a lifetime commitment under the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB) with confinement at the Oregon State Hospital.

Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton reacted to the plea and sentencing in a statement Thursday.

“Justin McAnulty committed a violent, senseless and cowardly act when he cold-bloodedly murdered Dennis Anderson in front of his wife. Mr. Anderson was unarmed and completely without fault in this tragedy. Today, the court heard from multiple family members who spoke eloquently of the singular nature of Mr. Anderson and how their lives have been devastated by his loss. My heart continues to go out to them as they work to move forward and recover.

Although both the state’s and defense’s experts reached the same conclusion about the defendant’s mental status at the time the shooting, today’s outcome is extremely disappointing. While McAnulty’s guilty plea at long last takes responsibility for killing Mr. Anderson, I strongly believe that Mr. McAnulty presents a risk to community safety and should be securely confined for the remainder of his life. It is now up to the members of the PSRB and other officials of our state’s mental health system to protect the community from McAnulty.

I am grateful for the assistance of so many in the public safety and law enforcement community that worked tirelessly on this investigation. In particular, the Oregon Department of Justice who handled the overall litigation of the case, the Oregon State Police as lead investigators, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Salem Police Department, Grand Ronde Tribal Police Department, Portland Police Bureau, Keizer Police Department, Independence Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sherriff’s Office, Lincoln City Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

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