An Oregon white supremacist and his girlfriend linked to four slayings in three states, including two killings in Everett, were driving to Sacramento, Calif., to "kill more Jews" when they were stopped by police, according to charging documents.
An Oregon white supremacist and his girlfriend linked to four slayings in three states, including two killings in Everett, were driving to Sacramento, Calif., to “kill more Jews” when they were arrested by police, according to charging documents.
The documents filed in Snohomish County allege that David Joseph “Joey” Pedersen, 31, and his girlfriend, Holly Ann Grigsby, 24, had killed Pedersen’s father and stepmother in Everett, then drove in the dead man’s car to Oregon, where Grigsby said they shot and killed 19-year-old Cody Myers and stole his car.
Grigsby told police they shot Myers “because his last name made them think he was Jewish,” according to the charging documents. Prosecutors said Grigsby claimed that she and Pedersen then planned to drive to Sacramento to “kill more Jews.”
The couple are also suspected in the slaying of 53-year-old Reginald Alan Clark, an African-American man who was found shot to death Friday in the back seat of his pickup in Eureka, Calif.
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Snohomish County prosecutors on Monday filed aggravated-murder charges against Pedersen and Grigsby, accusing them of the Sept. 26 slayings of Pedersen’s father, David “Red” Jones Pedersen, 56, who was shot in the head while driving the couple to the bus station in Everett. Grigsby, in a five-hour video statement to police, says the couple then headed back to the Pedersen home, where they taped the hands, feet and mouth of Leslie Pedersen, 69. The complaint says that Grigsby cut her throat, using two different knives.
Conviction on the aggravated-murder charges carries two possible penalties: life without parole, or death, although the prosecutor’s office has not indicated whether it will seek the death penalty.
On Tuesday, Pedersen and Grigsby waived their right to an extradition hearing during a brief court appearance in Yuba City, Calif., and will be returned to Washington state within a month to face the murder charges.
The couple were arrested last Wednesday while driving Myers’ car in Yuba City after a California Highway Patrol trooper encountered them parked along a road. The trooper inquired if they were OK, and left after they said they were just resting.
The trooper was driving away when he remembered a bulletin seeking Myers’ stolen car “and realized who he’d been dealing with.” He returned and executed a guns-drawn felony arrest after backup officers arrived, according to the complaint.
Police found two handguns and a rifle in the vehicle. Information developed after the arrest led officers Friday to the body of the elder Pedersen, which was left inside his Jeep and run off a remote logging road outside Salem, Ore.
They also recovered a backpack from a garbage can in Corvallis, Ore., that contained bloody clothing, four credit cards belonging to the Everett victims and a “K-Bar” fighting knife, charging documents said. Grigsby was also carrying a folding knife when she was arrested.
Pedersen had written a note to Grigsby outlining a plan where he would take responsibility for all of the killings, according to charging documents. In a jailhouse interview after his arrest, he told a California newspaper that he had killed his father because he had molested his sister when she was younger. There is no confirmation of the molestation allegations.
Pedersen is a three-time felon and an avowed white supremacist who in 2001 was sentenced to two years in federal prison for threatening to kill U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge in Boise, Idaho. Lodge presided over the trial of Randy Weaver for slaying a U.S. marshal during a standoff with federal agents at Ruby Ridge in 1992, when Pedersen was 13.
Dave Meyer, who was the deputy U.S. marshal who swore charges against Pedersen in Idaho in 2001, said the threat was contained in a letter written by Pedersen.
“He told us he was affiliated with Aryan groups at the Snake River Correctional Facility,” said Meyer, adding that the letter has never been made public.
Pedersen’s numerous tattoos include the letters “SWP” — for Supreme White Power — on his neck. Mark Potok at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., said Tuesday that Pedersen is unknown to the center, which tracks hate groups and their members. He did say there was a skinhead gang in California that used that name for a while.
If federal investigators believe that the couple killed Cody Myers because they believed he was Jewish, 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 and federal prosecutors in other states to determine where the pair should be prosecuted.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from Seattle Times archives and The Associated Press is included in this report.