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Fallon Smart’s family wants justice as escaped killer remains on the loose

Posted by on June 21st, 2017 at 10:59 am

The Saudi Arabian government, Oregon’s bail laws, and a young man scared to face consequences for his actions have left the family of Fallon Smart reeling. Again.

15-year-old Smart was hit and killed by Abdulrahman Noorah, 21, as she attempted to walk across SE Hawthorne Boulevard ten months ago. Noorah was driving recklessly at over twice the posted speed limit prior to hitting her. And now, just weeks before Noorah was to face justice for his alleged actions, he removed the electronic monitoring device that allowed authorities to keep tabs on him.

“I could see them [Saudi government] saying, ‘Welcome back, now you owe us $100,000 and we’ll put you in jail until you pay us’.”
— Shawn Overstreet, Multnomah County DA

U.S. Marshalls have issued a warrant for his arrest and a nationwide manhunt is underway.

Since Noorah’s escape last week, we’ve learned more about his case and the involvement of the Saudi Arabian government (he was in Portland on a student visa).

According to a June 13th BikePortland comment from a member of Fallon’s family, her uncle Shane Smart worried that Noorah was a flight risk from the moment he was arrested. Here’s an excerpt from that comment attributed to Shane Smart:

• From day 1, our family objected to a bail because of things known about Abdulrahman Noorah that made us believe he was a flight risk
• The deputy district attorney representing the state’s case against Abdulrahman Noorah expressed our objection of allowing a bail and house arrest to the presiding Judge
• A ‘Closed Street Supervision’ report was completed by a CSS officer, which evaluates the circumstances of a person who has had charges brought against them and recommends to the court if they should be released on bail and placed under house arrest based on their findings of ‘flight risk’. The report on Abdulrahman Noorah found that he was a flight risk and recommended he should not be allowed bail
• After our family objections and the recommendation from the CSS report, the presiding Judge still allowed $100,000.00 bail and him to be release on house arrest until trial

• Abdulrahman Noorah’s living expenses of almost $1900.00 a month has been provided by the Saudi Arabian government since 2014
• Abdulrahman Noorah’s legal counsel was retained and paid for by the Saudi Arabian consulate
• Abdulrahman Noorah’s $100,000.00 bail was paid for by the Saudi Arabian consulate
• Abdulrahman Noorah has now disappeared and we can only assume trying to return to his home country to evade paying for what he did to my sweet niece

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Some of those facts have now been verified by Willamette Week reporter (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Nigel Jaquiss in a story published yesterday. Jaquiss reports that the Saudi Arabian consulate hired two lawyers to represent Noorah and that the Saudi consulate posted his $100,000 bail (10 percent of the $1 million amount, which is allowed via Oregon law) less than one month after he was arrested.

In an interview this morning Multnomah County District Attorney Shawn Overstreet downplayed the Saudi government’s ties to the case. He said it’s more likely they feel a bit burned to have wasted $100,000 on a man with no ties to royalty, politics or official business. By escaping custody apparently on a whim, Overstreet said Noorah has put himself in an “interesting scenario.” He’s now on local and national law enforcement watch lists and it would be very difficult for him to leave the United States.

As part of the pre-judgment release conditions negotiated by Overstreet, Noorah not only had to post bail and wear a monitoring device, he also gave up his passport and waived his right to extradition. Is the Saudi government helping him in any way? Overstreet says that’s unlikely. His home country isn’t about re-issue Noorah’s passport and get mired in a high-profile scandal by directly assisting him. “They wouldn’t do that for this guy,” he said.

Given that he’d have to be smuggled across the border or get a new passport, Overstreet say it’s likely Noorah is still in the U.S. Even if he did manage to return to Saudi Arabia, Overstreet thinks Noorah might be surprised at the reception he’d get. “I could see them [Saudi government] saying, ‘Welcome back, now you owe us $100,000 and we’ll put you in jail until you pay us’.”

Overstreet thinks Noorah is simply afraid to face the consequences of his actions. “We were getting pretty close to resolving the case,” he said, “and it just didn’t go his way.”

Meanwhile, Fallon’s family is understandably angry and frustrated. Shane Smart just wants Noorah to be found in order for some level of justice to be served.

“Please share this post… publicly and get his face known at a national level. He needs to be re-apprehended and pay for his crime.”

Please see the Oregon Crimestoppers notice for information about where to send tips and information that will lead to Noorah’s capture.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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27 Comments
  • rick June 21, 2017 at 11:22 am

    It is just so easy to obtain a car in Oregon.

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    • jeff June 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      you just can’t help yourself, huh?

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    • Teddy June 22, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Agreed, I bought an 86 Camry for $600. You cannot find fairly rust free screaming deals like that in New York.

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  • 9watts June 21, 2017 at 11:26 am

    A crime-chase-thriller here on bikeportland(!)
    I hope this ends well, and the Smart family gets some justice.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy June 21, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Running away from this is just like hit-and-run all over again.

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  • Matthew in Portsmouth June 21, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    I am not entirely convinced that one needs a passport to leave the United States or that a Saudi citizen would absolutely need one to get into Saudi Arabia.

    I have travelled extensively internationally, and have observed that certainly one cannot check in for a commercial international flight without a passport and the right to enter the country of final destination, and the right to transit any intervening countries. However, I have not traveled on private aircraft so could not say with certainty, whether the same practices always occur – certainly a private flight would not want to land in a country with a passenger who doesn’t have the right to enter. There is no government exit check on departing the US (as there is in most other countries), but the US government may rely on airlines and other transport carriers to provide the information. There are many parts of the border with Canada that can be crossed without attracting the attention of either government.

    When I was applying for US permanent residency, every time I returned to the US from a foreign visit, I would spend an hour or two in secondary clearance. Here I was able to observe the comings and goings of all sorts of people. US citizens who arrive at a border post without their US Passport will spend time in secondary clearance, but provided that their story checks out, CBP will let them in (I’ve seen it happen). I would not be surprised if Saudi Arabia has similar arrangements in place.

    The question is whether or not Noorah, or someone acting for him, has the resources and ability to get him out of the USA and into Saudi Arabia. Getting into Canada isn’t going to help much – Canada has no interest in helping fugitives from US justice (especially if the death penalty is not involved). I am sure that there are mercenary type security companies that could orchestrate a private plane from Hillsboro or Troutdale airport, but those guys don’t work for peanuts, and private planes are not cheap, especially ultra-long range jets (think 767, 777, 747) that have the 7,500 nm range to get to Saudi, or somewhere that might provide this guy refuge. I could see a successful operation to get him out by mercenaries costing $1 million or more – in used $20 bills, or a wire to a bank account in one of those few countries that still launder money. If his parents are not wealthy, and it seems they’re not, I’d be surprised if anyone else is coughing up to boost this guy.

    I doubt Noorah has the smarts or connections to get in a car and find one of those desolate spots in Montana or North Dakota to get across the Canadian Border.

    So while it is possible he’s out of the country, in reality he’s probably here somewhere. It’s a big country though, and people can stay on the lam for years.

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    • John Lascurettes June 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Indeed, one only needs the passport to leave a public port for international shores. That says nothing of a charter flight, private boat, etc.

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    • Todd Hudson June 21, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      This guy isn’t the Saudi analog of Otto Warmbier. Doubtful SA will orchestrate a rescue operation for him – he’s nobody special. They are known for being somewhat authoritarian – you can get imprisoned (and lashed!) for reckless driving there.

      Also doubtful he has the resources or knowledge to plan to leave the US undetected and slither into SA undetected. He’s a 20-year-old community college student with zero common sense, not James Bond.

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  • Matthew in Portsmouth June 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Saudi Arabia is probably not going to pay the $900,000 balance of the bail either – the consulate has diplomatic immunity and the US State Department fights any attempts to sue foreign diplomats.

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  • bikeninja June 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I hope that someone is “sweating” his roomates. I doubt he is trying to walk to the border so he got a car or a ride from someone.

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  • bikeninja June 21, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I think we need to revisit those state laws on bounty hunters.

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    • Chris I June 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      What are the arguments for outlawing bounty hunters? I can understand that situations may arise that are not ideal, but do those really outweigh the effect of having felons on the loose?

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      • jh June 21, 2017 at 3:06 pm

        The main ones I’ve seen are that giving private citizens policing and enforcement powers can endanger the public more than it provides a public service. The small town I’m from had a family of bounty hunters that was always involved in some shoot out or car chase somewhere, and I’m pretty sure that they caused some pretty significant property damage more than a few times.

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        • 9watts June 21, 2017 at 3:08 pm

          Thank you for that perspective.
          Given our racist history, and what we’re seeing springing up again all around us the last few months, I suspect there were good reasons this practice was outlawed in Oregon.

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          • OregonJelly June 21, 2017 at 4:19 pm

            Yes, the same “good reasons” that made bail 10% of the actual amount. The same reasons that have turned the DAs office into a hand-slapping turnstile.

            I’m just waiting for one of our illustrious leaders to start telling us about how Noorah was the victim in this scenario. Or perhaps use this as an opportunity to justify anther tax increase.

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  • Mike Sanders June 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    One thing’s for sure: If he does manage to leave the US, he’s on his own. A modern version of the old TV show “The Fugitive.” What would I do if I were him? Ride a bike out of town and head east. There would be a certain irony about that. Fallon’s friends and family want this guy in jail. Maybe he’ll end up in one. Not an American one, but a jail somewhere.

    Oregon’s bail laws definitely deserve a second look, along with the system that should’ve kept him in custody, but couldn’t. And what about that tracker? I’d heard that they’re supposed to be hard to remove. This one, apparently, wasn’t.

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  • bikeninja June 21, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    It would solve the problem if they upgraded from the ankle bracelet to the exploding neck collar from the old 90’s movie “Wedlock”

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  • Editz June 21, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Hope he’s dumb enough to keep that hairdo. Should make him pretty easy to find.

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    • Dan A June 21, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Unless he joins a reggae band and starts playing zoo concerts.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate June 21, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    He should receive the death penalty.

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  • bendite June 21, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Be on the lookout for him in the next Bowie vs. Prince bike ride.

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  • SE June 22, 2017 at 11:26 am

    >>After our family objections and the recommendation from the CSS report, the presiding Judge still allowed $100,000.00 bail and him to be release on house arrest until trial

    what is that Judges name ?

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    • bendite June 23, 2017 at 7:37 am

      trump seems fond of the Saudis.

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  • JRB June 23, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    I understand the frustration many people feel about this guy jumping bail, but I think it is far more common that people are unjustly incarcerated until their case is resolved because they can’t raise bail then for people fail to appear after posting bail. People are presumed innocent and people should not be imprisoned indefinitely until their case is adjudicated unless they are a significant flight risk. Yes, the system failed in this case, but no system is perfect and I would think carefully before advocating for a harsher system based on one incident.

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    • 9watts June 23, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      thank you for pointing this out.
      Very much!

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    • Mark smith June 23, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      Sure, legally..people are presumed innocent. Here is what the crazy part is. Everyone knows, without a doubt, he killed the child. That’s the amazing thing about cars. Guilt is rarely an issue..and yet…it’s the most under prosecuted crime.

      It’s almost like..we spend more time prosecuting murder…which is terribly hard to prove..than something that is terribly easy. It’s equivalent to murderers avoiding prosecuting murder…but yet…handing out traffic tickets like it’s going out of style.

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