John David Wurdemann has always maintained his innocence in the attempted murder in 2000 of a motorist passing through Canyon County.
Wurdemann and three other people were accused of beating the woman, robbing her, setting her car on fire and leaving her for dead outside Caldwell. He was convicted of conspiracy, attempted murder, robbery and kidnapping.
But in 2015, a judge decided Wurdemann, now 46, had inadequate defense in his initial trial and freed him, setting up a path to a new trial.
Now he’s behind bars again. Oregon State Police say they arrested Wurdemann on Saturday evening after he attempted to flee officers who sought to arrest him on outstanding warrants.
Wurdemann, of Twin Falls, was in the company of another Twin Falls resident: 22-year-old Stormy Raine Allen, who also now is in the Malheur County Jail. Both are charged in Oregon with attempting to elude law enforcement and being felons in possession of a firearm, both felonies.
In addition, Allen is charged with hindering prosecution, tampering with evidence, offensive littering and interfering with a police officer.
Wurdemann faces charges of reckless driving and recklessly endangering another. But the biggest consequences could come in Idaho, where he allegedly violated the terms of his release set in 2015. Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker confirmed one of the outstanding warrants — described by OSP as a “homicide” warrant — was from the 2000 assault. The other warrant was out of Twin Falls for unlawful possession of a firearm.
It wasn’t immediately clear Monday what specific action by Wurdemann violated his terms of release. That allegation comes as the Idaho Supreme Court weighs whether to uphold the decision that freed him.
According to OSP, officers had reason to believe that Wurdemann, “who was known to have violent tendencies and to abuse drugs,” could be traveling on U.S. 20 between Burns and Ontario in a blue Ford F-150 pickup. A vehicle matching that description was found parked off the shoulder of that highway near milepost 163. When law enforcement approached the vehicle, the driver accelerated and fled eastbound.
Police said the driver fled recklessly, reaching speeds between 50 and 100 mph and often traveling into oncoming lanes of traffic and into the path of other vehicles. Numerous items, including a loaded firearm, were thrown from the vehicle and later recovered by the Harney County Sheriff’s Office.
The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office deployed spike strips around milepost 216, flattening both driver’s side tires and causing the vehicle to slow and eventually veer off the road into a snowdrift, police said.
It’s not yet known how soon Wurdemann might be returned to Idaho.
John Sowell contributed.