Mass suicide organizer contacted Portland State student

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) – Sheriff’s deputies kept watch over a house Monday where a local man had allegedly invited more than two dozen women from around North America to join him in a Valentine’s Day sex and suicide party.

Meanwhile, a Klamath County grand jury indicted Gerald D. Krein Jr. on one count of solicitation to commit murder and four counts of solicitation to commit manslaughter.

District Attorney Ed Caleb said he would ask a judge to increase the bail amount – set last week at $100,000 – when Krein appears in court on the indictment.

Sheriff Tim Evinger said a fifth woman has come forward from Georgia, saying she had been in contact with Krein about the Valentine’s Day sex and suicide party.

The others are from a suburb of Toronto, Canada; Chesterfield County, Virginia; Portland, Ore; and Missouri.

One of them is apparently Jaime Shockman, a Portland State University student who said she was contacted by Krein in December when she was at her computer and an instant message popped up.

"Do you think of suicide?" the instant message asked.

Shockman said she spent two hours communicating with Krein by instant message.

"I was sure it was a joke," she said.

She decided otherwise when Krein said a woman from Portland was coming to his home in southern Oregon to commit suicide along with her five kids.

Evinger said Krein had been talking via the Internet about setting up a sex and suicide party in 2000 while living in Texas, and in 2003 while living in Sacramento, Calif.

"It appears the idea changes based on who he’s talking to," Evinger said.

Authorities don’t know whether anyone actually committed suicide as a result.

"On this Valentine’s Day one, it was suggested that they come here, that they hang with him, that they have a sex party, and if they couldn’t come he would certainly entertain them, doing it over the internet," Evinger said.

Sheriff’s deputies parked in a convenience store across the street from Krein’s house on Monday, trying to make sure no one showed up to kill themselves.

"We’re obviously watching out for anybody coming into town," Evinger said. "It’s probably too early to say if anybody is showing up to partake locally."

Evinger added that investigators seized thousands of pornographic DVDs found in a large cardboard box in the home Krein shared with his parents.

Investigators have asked the FBI to help them chase down any national or international pieces of the puzzle, Evinger said.

An expert from the state Attorney General’s Internet Crime Against Children team joined investigators to backtrack internet and e-mail traffic to locate others Krein may have had contact with.

Evinger credited news reports with inspiring the women to come forward.

Caleb said that due to budgetary limitations they would choose the best few cases to go forward with at trial – which is why Krein has been accused of four counts, even though it is believed he was in contact with others through chat rooms and online groups.

Krein told investigators he had been in touch with 31 women, authorities said.

The indictment identified women allegedly contacted by Krein only by their initials: T.C., J.S., L.D. and L.S.

Asked whether authorities might have overreacted on the allegation, Caleb said "Step in our shoes and decide whether you want to risk people coming to Klamath Falls to commit suicide.

Also on Monday, Klamath Falls city police said they interviewed Krein on Sept. 14, 2004 after a woman from Missouri called to alert police to a planned suicide party, but did not find grounds to press charges.

"We received an anonymous complaint that Mr. Krein was doing something similar – he was saying he wanted to have a suicide get-together," said Klamath Falls Police spokesman Mike Anderson.

Detectives learned of the Valentine’s Day plan from a woman in Ontario, Canada, who said she saw a message in a Yahoo chat room that had "Suicide Ideology" in the title. The chat room is no longer active.

The woman told detectives she was going to take part in the suicide but had second thoughts when another chat room participant talked about killing her children before taking her own life, Evinger said.

Krein was arrested Wednesday at his mother’s home in the southern Oregon town of Klamath Falls. He moved to Oregon about a year ago from the Sacramento, Calif., area to take care of his ailing father, Evinger said.