Ashland man charged with bias crime has recent history of arrests

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April 14, 2022

Records show nine arrests since October, including for stalking a local woman

By Stephen Floyd for Ashland.news

An Ashland man arrested last month for allegedly assaulting a stranger due to the victim’s racial heritage has had numerous run-ins with police recently, including allegations of property crimes and the repeated stalking of a local woman.

Graham Nicholas Pedersen, 35, only had one misdemeanor offense on his criminal record prior to last year, a driving-under-the-influence charge in 2007, but since January 2021 he has been charged in 11 different cases in Jackson County Circuit Court, 10 of which remain pending.

Pedersen, who as of Wednesday was still lodged in the Jackson County Jail on a combined $276,000 bail for seven offenses, is due in court Monday, April 18, for a pretrial conference.

He was arrested March 26 after allegedly harassing, then shoving, a man he mistook for a Middle Easterner outside Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites. Pedersen yelled at the victim, who is of Afghan descent, to “go back where he came from,” and during his arrest allegedly directed racial slurs at the victim multiple times.

Pedersen also allegedly told police the victim was a “secret agent preventing him from contacting his family at the hotel,” which police said was “illogical and did not make sense.”

Pedersen has pleaded not guilty to second-degree bias crime, menacing, second-degree disorderly conduct and harassment and faces up to a year in jail. 

This is just one of the latest in a string of incidents police reports say involve substance abuse and possible mental health issues.

On Jan. 7, 2021, police responding to support the Department of Human Services arrived at Pedersen’s home, then in Medford, and found what they said were glass pipes containing methamphetamine residue. Pedersen was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and reckless endangering.

He pleaded guilty April 14, 2021, and was sentenced to a year of probation. But before probation ended, he moved to Ashland and his arrests became frequent, including in September 

for third-degree theft and interfering with a police officer after allegedly shoplifting from South Town Market; in November for third-degree escape after allegedly fleeing police during a traffic stop for a bicycling violation; in January for reckless burning, third-degree theft and second-degree criminal trespass after allegedly taking wood from a merchandise display outside Ace Hardware and lighting a fire for warmth in the parking lot; in January again on an outstanding warrant, and for allegedly trespassing at CravingCave; in February for third-degree theft after allegedly shoplifting from Grange Co-Op; and twice in March, once for for interfering with a police officer after Pedersen allegedly fled during service of a warrant and again for second-degree theft after allegedly shoplifting from Mountain Provisions.

During this time, Pedersen also allegedly began stalking a woman, asking personal questions and refusing to leave her alone. He was arrested Oct. 26, 2021, a block away from the victim’s apartment, and again Feb. 16 after trying to find her at her workplace.

Pedersen allegedly told police the woman had been assaulted and he was attempting to protect her, but the victim said she had no prior relationship with Pedersen. He has been charged with stalking, second-degree trespassing and second-degree burglary and faces up to five years in prison.

Email freelance reporter Stephen Floyd at sfloydmedia@gmail.com.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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