By Teresa Carson
PORTLAND, Ore (Reuters) - A white supremacist couple suspected of committing four murders across the Pacific Northwest on their way to "kill more Jews" in Sacramento were due in a California court on Tuesday for an extradition hearing.
The couple, David Joseph Pedersen, 31, and Holly Grigsby, 24, were arrested last Wednesday in California near Yuba City, north of the state capital, capping what authorities said was a two-week, three-state crime spree that began in the Puget Sound city of Everett, Washington.
Each was formally charged on Monday with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Pedersen's 69-year-old stepmother and the shooting death of his father, aged 56, both slain on September 26.
An affidavit filed with the charges said Grigsby confessed to killing the stepmother, Leslie Pedersen, by slashing her throat with two knives after she was bound with duct tape.
The affidavit said Grigsby also told Oregon State Police in a five-hour videotaped statement that her companion shot his father, David Jones Pedersen, in the back of the head while the elder Pedersen was driving the couple to a bus station, and that Grigsby took control of the Jeep from the passenger seat after he was shot.
According to the affidavit, the accused killers then drove to their home state of Oregon, where they are suspected of leaving the body of Pedersen's father abandoned in his Jeep and later committing a third murder, that of a 19-year-old man, Cody Myers.
The body of Myers, who was shot multiple times, was found in a forest on October 5, the same day the couple were arrested.
Pedersen and Grigsby were driving Myers' car when they were taken into custody, Oregon State Police said. They have since been named as suspects in a fourth slaying, that of Reginald Clark, 53, who was found in a car in Eureka, California, dead of a gunshot wound to the head.
Grigsby told police detectives in her statement that Myers was killed "because his last name made them think he was Jewish," according to the affidavit. It also quoted her as commenting when arrested that she and Pedersen "were on their way to Sacramento to 'kill more Jews.'" Clark was black.
Myers' family said in a statement the day his body was found that his life choices were guided by his belief in Jesus and that "he was destined for a life in the ministry."
The couple's white supremacist leanings were evident in a "White Power" tattoo on Pedersen's neck and through Facebook postings by Grigsby, police said.
Prosecutors told Reuters that if the couple waives their right to challenge extradition at their hearing on Tuesday, they will likely be sent back to Washington state to face charges there first.
(Additional reporting by Laura Myers in Seattle; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)