High bail for 2 stabbing suspects

EVERETT — A judge on Tuesday set high bail for two women accused of taking part in the fatal stabbing of an Everett man in what police believe is a drug robbery gone awry.

A third suspect remained at large Tuesday. All are under investigation for first-degree murder.

Bail was set at $250,000 for Sarah A. Hellerud, 27, who allegedly stabbed Luis Verduzco, 23, when he fought to keep his methamphetamine. Prosecutors allege the trio lured him into a car under the guise of buying drugs. His body was found April 24 near the garage of a vacant house in Madison Street.

Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui also set bail at $150,000 for Lathana Neese, 19.

Neese contacted Verduzco on her cellphone 53 times in a five-hour period on April 23, according to court papers.

Defense attorney Tom Cox argued police didn’t establish probable cause to justify Neese’s arrest for investigation of murder. At the most, he said there was probable cause for attempting to solicit narcotics.

Bui disagreed.

An informant told police that Hellerud told her about her involvement in the killing and implicated Neese and a man, according to court records.

Police believe the man tried to grab Verduzco’s drugs but he fought back. The victim then was stabbed and pushed out of the car, prosecutors allege.

Hellerud told investigators she hadn’t seen Verduzco since November and she was walking along the streets of Everett when he was killed.

Neese admitted to knowing Verduzco, but denied she was with him when he was fatally stabbed.

Hellerud has convictions for car theft, possessing methamphetamine, theft and possessing stolen property.

Prosecutors said she also has pending charges of forgery, possessing stolen property and identity theft.

Neese had no previous felony history and just one misdemeanor. However, she also was arrested for investigation of forgery and theft along with the murder allegation. She’s accused of forging checks that had been stolen from mailboxes in Everett.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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