Couple charged in killing spree to be sent to WA
They could face death penalty if convicted of charges
Originally published October 10, 2011 at 8:47 p.m., updated October 11, 2011 at 8:59 p.m.
SEATTLE — A boyfriend-and-girlfriend duo suspected in a killing spree that left four people dead in three Western states are expected to be returned to Washington state within a month to face charges that could bring the death penalty.
David “Joey” Pedersen and his girlfriend, Holly Grigsby, waived their right to an extradition hearing during a brief court appearance Tuesday in Yuba County, Calif., north of Sacramento, where they were arrested last week. The pair, who have expressed white supremacist beliefs, are suspected of killing his father, David “Red” Pedersen, 56, and the elder Pedersen’s wife Leslie, 69, about Sept. 26 in Everett, and, later, two other people, including a 19-year-old man they believed was Jewish.
The pair were charged Monday in the Pedersens’ deaths with aggravated first-degree murder in Snohomish County. Aggravated first-degree murder is punishable in Washington only by execution or life in prison without release. Prosecutors have not determined whether to pursue the death penalty.
According to a prosecutor’s affidavit in support of those charges, authorities have recovered bloody clothing, a knife and stolen credit cards that they believe the couple dumped in an Oregon trash can while on the run.
Grigsby told police she and her boyfriend were heading to Sacramento, Calif., to “kill more Jews” when they were arrested last week in California, the affidavit said.
If true, that could be a basis for federal hate-crime charges. Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, confirmed Tuesday that her office had been in touch with counterparts in Snohomish County as well as federal prosecutors in other states to determine where the pair should be prosecuted.
Neither defendant spoke during Tuesday’s hearing, except briefly to their lawyers. Previous weapons and vehicle theft charges were dropped, and the judge ordered them held without bail.
In interviews with a reporter and police, the couple said they killed Pedersen’s father because he molested two young relatives and killed his wife because she knew and still supported him.
Grigsby, 24, confessed during a five-hour, videotaped interview with Oregon state police, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson wrote in a probable cause statement.
Grigsby said the couple planned to travel from Oregon to visit Red Pedersen and his wife — and then kill him by shooting him in the back of the head as he was driving them to a bus station.
She said she was in the passenger seat and took the steering wheel after her boyfriend fired a shot to the back of his head. They then drove to the Pedersens’ home in Everett.
Grigsby said she herself slit Leslie Pedersen’s throat, and they headed south in Red Pedersen’s Jeep with his body inside.
They ditched the car off a steep embankment, and killed Cody Myers, who was on his way to a jazz festival on the Oregon Coast, because his name sounded Jewish, according to Matheson’s affidavit. Myers was a devout Christian.
When she was arrested, Grigsby said “the couple was on their way to Sacramento to ‘kill more Jews,’ ” Matheson wrote.
Grigsby and Pedersen were arrested outside Yuba City, Calif., when a police officer spotted them in Myers’ car. Authorities had been tracking them by use of stolen credit cards and had warned police in several states to be on the lookout for them.
Pedersen, 31, admitted to police killing a man in Eureka, Calif., on Oct. 3 or 4, the probable cause statement said. The crime matched an open investigation into the death of Reginald Alan Clark, 53, who was found dead with a bullet wound to the head.
Police have not suggested a motive, but Clark was black.