Supremacist couple plead not guilty to two murders

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 19, 2011 9:38 PM
Supremacist couple plead not guilty to two murders

By Laura L. Myers

EVERETT, Wash (Reuters) - A white supremacist couple suspected of killing four people in a violent road trip across the Pacific Northwest pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to first-degree murder in two of the deaths.

Appearing separately in a Washington state court a day after their extradition from California, David Joseph Pedersen, 31, and Holly Grigsby, 24, also were ordered to remain held without bond.

Flanked by their lawyers, each said little during their five-minute arraignment, except to reply to procedural questions put to them by Judge Larry McKeeman of Snohomish County Superior Court.

Pedersen, his head shorn and bare arms and neck heavily tattooed, looked down and appeared fidgety during the proceedings. Grigsby, with bright, reddish-brown hair, looked comparatively calm and gazed straight ahead.

Each is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Pedersen's stepmother, Leslie Mae "DeeDee" Pedersen, 69, and the shooting death of his father, David "Red" Pedersen, 56. Both were slain on September 26.

County Prosecutor Mark Roe said in a statement he had 30 days from the date of the arraignment to decide whether to seek the death penalty against the pair.

The couple were arrested October 5 in northern California, capping what authorities said was a two-week, three-state crime spree that began in the Puget Sound city of Everett, Washington, and ended with Grigsby telling police she and Pedersen were on their way to "kill more Jews" in Sacramento.

An affidavit filed with the charges said Grigsby had confessed to killing the stepmother by slashing her throat after binding her with duct tape.

The affidavit said Grigsby also told police during a five-hour videotaped statement that her companion shot his father in the back of the head while the elder Pedersen was driving the couple to a bus station. Authorities said the pair then drove his Jeep to their home state of Oregon and abandoned the father's body there in the vehicle.

According to the affidavit, the couple are suspected of later shooting to death a 19-year-old Oregon man, Cody Myers, who they singled out in the mistaken believe he was Jewish, then dumping his body and driving his car to California.

Myers' body was later found in a forest around the same time Pedersen and Grigsby were arrested near Yuba City, California. They have since been named as suspects in a fourth slaying, that of Reginald Clark, 53, a black man who was found shot to death in a car in Eureka, California.

The couple's white supremacist leanings were evident in a white power tattoo visible on Pedersen's neck and through Facebook postings by Grigsby.

In a jailhouse interview published by the Marysville Appeal-Democrat newspaper after his arrest, Pedersen said he decided to kill his father because he believed his parent had molested a sister and a cousin. Police have said the stepmother was slain because the suspects believed she had known of the alleged sexual abuse but failed to stop it.

(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)