An Oregon man arrested last year after a multi-state murder spree pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of aggravated murder.
David Joseph “Joey” Pedersen, a three-time felon and an avowed white supremacist, will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Pedersen, and his girlfriend, Holly Ann Grigsby were charged with aggravated murder for killing Pedersen’s estranged father, David “Red” Pedersen and his wife, Leslie Pedersen, in September. The two are also suspected of slayings in Oregon and California and could face federal prosecution.
Pedersen entered his guilty pleas in Snohomish County Superior Court this morning, according to Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe.
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Grigsby has pleaded not-guilty and her case is proceeding to trial.
When the pleas were taken, Roe had not revealed whether he planned to seek the death penalty against either defendant. But after today’s hearing, Roe said that he had not planned to seek a death sentence in Pedersen’s case because a police investigation had substantiated Pedersen’s claim that his father had sexually assaulted his children.
After his arrest, Pedersen told the media that he killed his father because the man had molested his sister when they were young.
Roe said that because of the evidence, it was likely that a jury would not be in full agreement that the death penalty was warranted. Roe has not said whether he plans to pursue a death sentence in Grigsby’s case.
“This plea and upcoming sentence ends the Washington case against this defendant,” Roe wrote, in a statement released this morning. “Today’s action does not impact or limit in any way actions or prosecutions of either defendant by other jurisdictions.”
Police allege that after killing “Red” and Leslie Pedersen last fall, the couple drove Red Pedersen’s SUV to Oregon, where 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 charging documents. Prosecutors said Grigsby claimed that she and Pedersen then planned to drive to Sacramento, Calif., to “kill more Jews.”
The couple also are suspected of killing Reginald Alan Clark, 53, an African-American man who was found shot to death in the back seat of his pickup in Eureka, Calif. Pedersen and Grigsby were arrested Oct. 5 in Yuba City, Calif.
Pedersen was sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2001 for threatening to kill a U.S. District Court judge in Boise, Idaho.