The white supremacist couple accused of three grisly murders is now being linked to a fourth killing, that of a black man in Eureka, Calif., as part of a spree that police now say may have been sparked by anger over alleged sexual assaults by the father of the male suspect.
David Joseph "Joey" Pedersen, 31, of Everett, Wash., and Holly Grigsby, 24, of Portland, Ore., who have both been identified as having white supremacist affiliations, were arrested last week for the murder of Pederson's parents, whom Grigsby said they killed because of his alleged sexual molestation of Pederson's sister and cousin.
Police from Washington, Oregon, and California met today to piece together evidence from the multi-state crime spree, including testimony from Grigsby, who police say admitted to the planning and execution of at least two of the murders.
Pedersen, who sports a white supremacist tattoo across his neck that reads "SWP" -- for Supreme White Power -- and has been in and out of prison since he was 16, allegedly plotted to kill his father, David Jones "Red" Pederson, while Red drove him and Grigsby to the train station, according to what Grigsby told investigators.
"Holly said the plan was to kill Red as he drove them to the Everett Transit Station to catch a bus. Joey was to sit behind Red and shoot him from behind while Holly took control of the vehicle, bringing it safely to a stop. The suspects allegedly made good on this plan," Goetz said in a statement.
Police noted that the sexual assault allegations against the elder Pedersen had not been substantiated.
Killing Spree on West Coast
Grigbsy, who has also been in prison twice and had a history of heroin and methamphetamine addiction, told police that she and Pedersen followed the plan to kill Red and then returned to the Pederson home to kill Red's wife. Grigsby told police they wanted to kill Joey's stepmother for her knowledge of the molestation and her failure to do anything about it. Grigsby also told police how she killed Leslie using two knives, according to Goetz.
The couple then left in the Jeep with the deceased Red still inside and fled to Oregon, he said. They used the Pedersen's credit cards to pay for food and other necessities along the way, he said.
In Oregon, the couple came across 19-year-old Cody Myers, who was attending a jazz festival in Newport by himself. Police said that the couple met Myers in Newport, where the jazz festival was located, and then proceeded with him to a second location, near Toledo, Ore. There, they allegedly killed Myers, and then transported the body to where it was eventually found by police, near Pioneer Mountain.
Oregon police could not yet identify a motive for the killing or a timeline for how and when the three individuals met.
Following their alleged third murder, the couple fled again, this time in Myers' vehicle, police said. Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 5, they allegedly killed a fourth man, Reginald Alan Clark, 53, of Eureka, Calif.
Police were alerted to a suspicious vehicle by a friend of Clark's, who said Clark hadn't been seen in a few days. Police entered the vehicle and found Clark, deceased, beneath a pile of clothes, according to the police statement. It was later determined that Clark had been shot. Police have not yet determined a motive, and would not say whether the murder was considered a hate crime.
On Oct. 5, California highway patrols saw Myers' vehicle and recognized it, pulled the car over, and arrested Pedersen and Grigsby without incident. They are being held in California on $1 million bail and are awaiting extradition to Oregon and Washington, police said Monday.
On Oct. 8, police found Red's vehicle, containing his body, in a steep embankment near a mountain in Oregon. Police are unsure of the timeline of events as to when the couple ditched the vehicle there.
Prison, White Supremacy, and Drugs in Killers' Pasts
Pedersen was previously convicted of robbery, threatening the life of a federal judge, and assault on a police officer, and has spent more than half his life in prison, according to documents. The tattoo around his neck is common on members of a prison-based white supremacist gang, the Nazi Low Riders, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors the group.
Since he was released from prison earlier this year, he has competed in three mixed martial arts competitions with the Ultimate Fighting Champsionship league, according to the league's website.
Grigsby, who had been in jail twice on identity theft charges, was due back in court for a parole violation on Oct. 7, though it was not clear what the violation was. Her father, Fred Grigsby, told Portland news station KGW that he last saw his daughter, who has a 2-year-old child, four months ago, when she was trying to clean up her life. Up until one month ago, she was working with her sister at a pretzel shop, but then quit and left, he said. The child is now living with the father.
Fred Grigsby said his daughter had battled addictions to heroin and methamphetamines, and had also got "mixed up" with white supremacist groups.
Meth and heroin are two drugs associated with the NLR gang's street activities, according to the Anti-Defamation League.