Home-invasion robbery investigation continues

EVERETT — Lawyers are moving forward with a mountainous case involving nearly a dozen men implicated in a deadly home-invasion robbery last year.

So far, five men have admitted being involved in a string of crimes that ended in gunfire Dec. 1. Police believe Patrick Buckmaster, 30, was gunned down while taking part in a home invasion robbery in Marysville.

Johnathan Frohs, aka Bigfoot, is accused of shooting Buckmaster in the head after he mistook him for a rival when Buckmaster walked into the house wearing a hockey mask.

Buckmaster’s body was discovered in January in a shallow grave in east Snohomish County.

Detectives suspect that the robbery was sparked when Ethan Mattox and Jeffrey Brinkley robbed a man of $4,700 and drugs. That man, Kenny Easley, reportedly rounded up some friends, many with lengthy criminal history and gang ties.

They allegedly stormed the house in search of Mattox and Brinkley. The men weren’t there, but the crew held two people inside the house hostage, demanding money and threatening their relatives, according to prosecutors.

After Buckmaster was shot, everyone fled the home. Some later returned to clean up and move Buckmaster’s body, court papers said.

Frohs, 45, is charged with numerous felonies, including second-degree murder, kidnapping, burglary and assault. He is scheduled to go to trial in January, along with two other men, including Robert Rose and Ronald Brown. Clark Johnson, who also is charged with several crimes in connection with the robbery, is scheduled to go to trial this month.

Mattox pleaded guilty to robbery, kidnapping and assault for his part in the initial attack on Easley. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this month. On Monday, Brinkley’s trial was rescheduled for January. If he is convicted, Brinkley faces a mandatory life sentence under the state’s persistent offender law.

Easley and Danny Fordham pleaded guilty last month to federal gun and drug charges in connection with the case. They both face decades behind bars. They are expected to be sentenced once the trials wrap up in January. William Davis, the first man to plead guilty, also will be sentenced after the January trials.

Kenneth Rehak pleaded guilty Monday to his part in the home invasion robbery. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this month. Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and may include additional arrests.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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