EVERETT — Two white supremacists accused of killing an Everett couple and two others have been indicted on federal racketeering charges that allege the pair’s violent crime rampage was an effort to “purify” and “preserve” the white race.
David “Joey” Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby, both of Oregon, face more than a dozen charges, including allegations that they murdered and kidnapped Pedersen’s father, David “Red” Pedersen and his wife, Leslie “DeeDee” Pedersen, both of Everett.
They also are accused of murdering, kidnapping and robbing two other men, Cody Myers and Reginald Clark.
Federal authorities allege that the Oregon couple were members of a criminal enterprise targeting Jewish leaders, members of prominent Jewish organizations and other “Zionists.” The pair used the media to publicize their hate-filled message in hopes of sparking a revolution, according to a 24-page indictment filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore.
Pedersen and Grigsby are accused of murdering four people based on race, color, religion and perceived “degenerate” conduct including sexual abuse, vagrancy, drug abuse, and other factors that they believed made them “riff raff.”
Prosecutors allege that Pedersen, 32, researched the names of Jewish organizations in Washington, Oregon and California to identify potential targets. He also reportedly possessed a draft press release to alert the media about the purpose of the planned murders, court papers said. The pair also is accused of communicating with other white supremacists in and out of prison to rally support for their efforts.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to decide later if prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
“These crimes victimize not only individuals and their families, but entire communities. This indictment shows that we will work tirelessly with our federal and state partners to pursue allegations of bigotry and prejudice in order to protect all of our citizens from hate and violence,” U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said.
While he isn’t charged with the murders in the federal indictment, the killings are elements of the racketeering charges against him. That avoids any potential double jeopardy, prosecutors said.
Red Pedersen, 56, was shot once in the back of the head Sept. 26 while he drove the young couple to the bus station in Everett. Joey Pedersen was accused of firing the fatal shot.
Investigators believe the pair returned to the Everett couple’s home to kill DeeDee Pedersen, 69. Police found her bound with duct tape. Her throat had been slashed. The evidence suggests that Grigsby, 25, wielded the knives, court papers said.
Grigsby reportedly killed the Everett grandmother in keeping with her code that a man shouldn’t kill a woman, according to the indictment.
Investigators believe after the killings in Everett, the pair headed to Oregon. That’s where Myers, 19, encountered the fugitives.
They allegedly killed Myers to take his car, and because they believed he was Jewish, according to court papers. The teenager was a devout Christian.
Clark, 53, a disabled black man, was shot after he encountered Grigsby in a California grocery store parking lot. The defendants had planned to steal his truck, but didn’t follow through. They later told detectives and reporters that Clark needed to die because they believed he was a drug dealer.
The pair was captured Oct. 5 after they crossed paths with a California Highway Patrol officer in a rural area north of Sacramento, Calif. They were driving Myers’ vehicle. Inside the car were three loaded guns. Grigsby allegedly later told detectives that she and her boyfriend were on their way to Sacramento to “kill more Jews.”
The pair was returned to Snohomish County, where they were charged with aggravated murder for the killings here. Prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty.
Prosecuting attorney Mark Roe said the police investigation turned up “significant and credible” evidence that Red Pedersen had sexually abused his children and others decades ago.
Joey Pedersen went public with the allegations after his arrest, claiming the abuse was the reason why he chose to kill his father. DeeDee Pedersen had nothing to do with the abuse, and wasn’t married to Red Pedersen at the time, prosecutors said.
Roe expects to dismiss the aggravated murder charges against Grigsby on Monday. That’s when FBI agents are expected to transport her to federal court in Seattle, where she will be arraigned on the new federal charges. Pedersen will be arraigned at a later date in Oregon.
“This is something we have been hoping for and working toward for the better part of the year,” Roe said Friday. “We believe this is in the best interest of the victims’ families. Serial prosecution of these two could have spanned a decade. The victims’ family here expressed their wish to have the pair tried in one place at one time.”
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.