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District Attorney explains 'Murder Constituting Domestic Violence'

On Saturday, police arrested 23-year-old Erick Joaquin on an unrelated warrant. After investigating further, they arrested him for the murder of his girlfriend, 19-year-old Jessica Elizabeth Frank, Sunday. Mug Shot courtesy Lane County Jail.

EUGENE, Ore. - Police say 19-year-old Jessica Elizabeth Frank was murdered by her boyfriend.

On Sunday, Eugene Police arrested 23-year-old Erick Joaquin on Pattison Street in North Eugene.

Police say even though the suspect was arrested, the investigation continues.

“We talk to family members, other witnesses, people he'd been in a relationship with previously, anyone who might have background on both the suspect and the victim,” said Detective Ben Hall from the Eugene Police Department.

Joaquin was arrested on the charge of "Murder- Constituting Domestic Violence", and was arraigned on Monday.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Erik Hasselman called the phrase a charge "modifier".

He said the modifier "Constituting Domestic Violence" is sometimes added to crimes that took place between family members or intimate partners.

"It does have a significant legal effect, and I think the legislature in recent years has been taking more steps to try to deter people from escalating violence within family context or within intimate partners," Hasselman said.

Hasselman says the modifier can affect a charge in 2 ways. It can help the DA's office keep track of domestic violence cases in Oregon, and if the suspect is found guilty, it helps lawyers prevent the guilty party from owning firearms.

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