An Oregon couple suspected in four slayings in three states, including two in Everett, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that could carry the death penalty.
EVERETT — An Oregon couple suspected in four slayings in three states, including two in Everett, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that could carry the death penalty.
David Joseph “Joey” Pedersen, 31, and his girlfriend, Holly Ann Grigsby, 24, entered their pleas in Snohomish County Superior Court via a video link from the Snohomish County Jail in Everett. The couple were extradited Tuesday from California and held without bail.
Superior Court Judge Larry McKeeman tentatively set trial for Dec. 2, but Deputy Prosecutor Craig Matheson said it will likely be delayed.
Pedersen, who was recently released from an Oregon prison, and Grigsby are charged with aggravated first-degree murder for the slayings of Pedersen’s father, David “Red” Jones Pedersen, 56, and stepmother, Leslie Pedersen, 69, on Sept. 26 in Everett. Police allege the couple then drove Red Pedersen’s SUV to Oregon, where they shot and killed 19-year-old Cody Myers and stole his car.
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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, 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.
Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe has 30 days from Wednesday’s arraignment to decide whether to seek the death penalty. However, he said in a news release that he might consider extending that deadline.
Matheson said prosecutors will evaluate “everything” in considering the death penalty, including “thousands and thousands” of pages of information.
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 a U.S. District Court judge in Boise, Idaho. Grigsby also spent time in prison beginning in 2006 for a variety of charges, including identity theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle. She also has white-supremacist beliefs, police said.
In a jailhouse interview after his arrest, Pedersen told a California newspaper that he killed his father because he had molested his sister when she was younger. There is no confirmation of the molestation allegations, Everett police said.
Matheson said Washington, Oregon and California authorities have worked cooperatively and agreed to handle the cases sequentially.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org