Man accused of killing 3 people remains on suicide watch

AP News
Posted: Jan 13, 2015 3:29 PM
Man accused of killing 3 people remains on suicide watch

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — A man remained in jail under suicide watch after being accused of killing three people, including his mother, in Moscow, Idaho, over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday.

John Lee, 29, of Moscow was in custody in Whitman County, Washington, after making his first court appearance Monday and being advised of his rights.

Lee was set to appear in court again Friday to enter a plea to a charge of eluding law enforcement officers, The Lewiston Tribune reported ( ).

The hearing will also deal with issues regarding his extradition to Idaho.

Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier told Lee that he can either waive the formal extradition process and be returned to Idaho or request the process.

Frazier said the latter involves Idaho's governor requesting a writ of extradition from Washington's governor — a process that usually takes at least a month.

Prosecutor Denis Tracy said he intends to resolve the Whitman County case, which he anticipates would take about two months, before sending Lee back to Idaho.

"That could change later, but at this point, that's my intent," Tracy said after the hearing.

Bill Thompson, the prosecutor in Latah County, Idaho, said that would be fine.

"It is routine for the jurisdiction that has custody to resolve their case before the defendant is extradited," Thompson said.

Meanwhile, Lee was under suicide watch and is being held in an individual cell, Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers said.

Authorities said Lee shot and killed three Moscow residents and wounded another man before leading police on the chase that ended in Whitman County.

No motive has been established.

Lee is suspected of killing David Trail, 76, Belinda Niebuhr, 47, and his mother, Terri Grzebielski, 61, at separate locations in Moscow.

Michael Chin, 39, of Seattle, was shot in the arm and leg while visiting with Trail. He was being treated at a Spokane hospital.

Tracy said Lee led police on a dangerous 25-mile car chase into Washington after the shootings. He said Lee had a loaded rifle on the seat next to him when his vehicle left the road.

"I'm just very thankful he chose to comply with the police directive following the wreck and didn't come out with the rifle in his hand," Tracy said.

If convicted of the felony eluding count, Lee could face up to five years in prison.


Information from: Lewiston Tribune,