David Pedersen pleads guilty in NW killing rampage
- Article by: STEVEN DUBOIS
- Associated Press
- April 23, 2014 - 5:15 PM
PORTLAND, Ore. — A white supremacist whose Pacific Northwest crime rampage claimed four lives in 2011 pleaded guilty to federal charges Wednesday as part of a plea agreement that netted lighter punishments for two accomplices.
David "Joey" Pedersen, 33, pleaded guilty to two counts of carjacking resulting in death — one for the death of teenager Cody Myers on the Oregon coast and the other for the killing of Reginald Clark in Eureka, Calif., court records show. His court-appointed attorney, Richard Wolf, confirmed the plea deal in an interview and said Pedersen will be sentenced to life in prison at an Aug. 4 hearing.
Pedersen has already been serving a life sentence after pleading guilty in state court to murder in the slaying of his father and stepmother in Everett, Wash.
Prosecutors say the rampage conducted by Pedersen and girlfriend Holly Ann Grigsby was part of a white supremacist campaign to purify and preserve the white race. Pedersen has a tattoo of a swastika on his chest and an image of Adolph Hitler on his stomach. The blue initials "SWP," for Supreme White Power, are on his neck.
Grigsby pleaded guilty to federal charges last month and will receive a life sentence.
In the plea agreement, Pedersen agreed to drop pending motions that sought a ruling of "bad faith" against the government. It had earlier been revealed that investigators failed to share information with the defense, as required, and that prosecutors obtained recordings of phone calls made by Pedersen that included confidential defense strategy.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder decided in February not to seek the death penalty, so Pedersen didn't personally gain from the plea deal.
The government, however, agreed to lesser sentences for two accomplices — Corey Wyatt and his wife, Kimberly Scott-Wyatt.
"As Mr. Pedersen said in court, he was changing his plea quite reluctantly, but doing so in order to try and mitigate the harm he had caused to the Wyatts and others," Wolf said.
Corey Wyatt, a mixed-martial arts fighter, pleaded guilty to federal charges in December. Police said he gave Pedersen a gun and helped dispose of a stolen vehicle. He faced up to 15 years in prison, but prosecutors will recommend seven years and five months at his sentencing this summer. His wife, meanwhile, is expected to get probation.
The killing spree began with the Sept. 26, 2011, deaths of David "Red" Pedersen and Leslie Pedersen. The couple then drove Red Pedersen's vehicle south into Oregon, where they shot and killed 19-year-old Myers and stole his car.
They shot Myers, who was Christian, because his name sounded Jewish, according to court documents.
Pedersen and Grigsby then headed to Northern California, where Clark, a 53-year-old black man, was shot to death.
Grigsby and Pedersen were arrested Oct. 5, 2011, outside Yuba City, Calif., when a police officer spotted them in Myers' car. Grigsby told officers they were on their way to Sacramento to "kill more Jews,'" court documents said.
Follow Steven DuBois at twitter.com/pdxdub
© 2015 Star Tribune