By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — An Oregon man convicted of murdering an Everett couple and suspected of killing two other people during a tri-state crime spree told doctors he feels no remorse for the bloodshed he caused.
Instead, David “Joey” Pedersen said his only regret was not reaching Sacramento, Calif. That’s where his girlfriend told authorities the couple had planned to “kill more Jews.”
“I wish we had been more successful. I wish we had made it to Sacramento,” Pedersen is quoted as saying in a psychiatric evaluation filed Monday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
Pedersen, 31, said he wasn’t seeking to be martyred for his beliefs. He also told state doctors that he never intended to beg for leniency, even if that means he’ll be executed.
Western State Hospital doctors noted during a January interview with Pedersen that the man planned to plead guilty to aggravated murder. He claimed to be headed to death row. He wanted a visit from his mother to let her have one last hug, according to the report, obtained by The Herald.
During the interview, Pedersen said he didn’t feel guilty about killing his estranged father, David “Red” Pedersen. Instead, he told doctors that his father needed to die because he was a “child molester.” He implied that his father’s wife, Leslie “DeeDee” Pedersen shared the same fate because she knew of her husband’s past, court papers said.
Joey Pedersen pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of aggravated murder for the Everett slayings. He is scheduled to be in court Friday, when he’ll be sentenced to life in prison without the chance of release. That’s the only punishment now available under state law.
“I did what had to be done, and there’s no changing the facts. I killed those people, and they needed to be killed,” Joey Pedersen is quoted as saying in the Feb. 9 report.
He also told doctors that he didn’t regret killing an Oregon teenager and a disabled black man in California after he and his girlfriend, Holly Grigsby crossed paths with the men during their flight from justice. When the doctors pressed him about the deaths, Pedersen reportedly called Reginald Clark, 53, a racial slur, saying, “He was riffraff. I lose no sleep over killing him.”
Joey Pedersen also said he wasn’t going to use his own bad childhood as an excuse, or to shame himself by asking prosecutors to spare his life.
After their capture, Grigsby allegedly told Oregon State Police detectives that Cody Myers, 19, was killed because he had a “Jewish sounding” last name. Myers, a devout Christian, was headed to a jazz festival when he encountered the fugitives. They are accused of shooting him and stealing his car. Grigsby reportedly told detectives that she and Pedersen had been headed to Sacramento to “kill more Jews.”
Grigsby remains charged in connection with the Sept. 26 killings in Snohomish County.
Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe hasn’t announced publicly if he’ll seek the death penalty for Grigsby, 25. Prosecutors believe that she slashed DeeDee Pedersen’s throat. It would be unusual for Roe to seek the death penalty for one defendant and not the other. Death sentences are automatically reviewed by the appellate courts, and one factor is whether the punishment is proportional for others convicted of similar crimes.
A judge on Monday declined to allow Grigsby access to the jail commissary to buy snacks. Her attorneys had argued that their client’s constitutional rights were violated when she was deemed a high-risk inmate.
Roe decided not to seek the death penalty for Joey Pedersen after the police investigation turned up evidence that Red Pedersen, 56, had sexually assaulted his children and others decades ago.
Although he believed a death sentence would be justifiable, Roe didn’t believe a jury would unanimously agree to execute Pedersen after hearing testimony about Red Pedersen’s past behavior.
DeeDee Pedersen, 69, was never implicated in the abuse. She wasn’t married to Red Pedersen at the time of the assaults.
In Oregon, the Lincoln County district attorney told a newspaper that he plans to prosecute Pedersen and Grigsby for killing Myers. Rob Bovett said he’d wait to extradite the pair until the case against Grigsby is resolved here.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon declined to comment about any federal prosecution. Federal authorities could potentially consolidate the cases in Oregon and California.
Roe advised federal prosecutors about Joey Pedersen’s plea, which doesn’t limit prosecutions, or penalties, for the killings in Oregon or California. He could still face the death penalty in those states.
Statements Pedersen made to doctors here may bolster the theory that the killings outside Washington were hate crimes.
During his evaluation at Western State Hospital, Pedersen was questioned about media reports that he and Grigsby were tied to white supremacists. Pedersen, who has white power tattoos on his body, initially resisted any particular label for his beliefs, but later described them as “white racialism,” according to the report.
“I see everything as a battle, and race is paramount. I see our culture as Europeans as threatened,” Pedersen is quoted as saying.
The doctors were trying to determine if Pedersen could assist in his own defense or if he was suffering from a major mental illness that would impede his decision making. They pressed him about how he felt having Jewish lawyers. He told the doctors his attorneys, Donald Wackerman and Gil Levy, were professional and doing a good job for him.
“Obviously if we were out in society, I wouldn’t have any sort of relationship with them,” Pedersen said.
Pedersen joked with the evaluators while sharing his theories on race. He also attempted to flirt with female hospital personnel to get more food, leading them to report that Pedersen could be “a real charmer,” according to the court papers. The doctors also noted that Pedersen gave the impression that he was amused by the evaluation process, “as though he were permitting himself to be clumsily questioned by inferior minds.”
His behavior was consistent with having a narcissistic personality, the doctors noted.
Pedersen has spent nearly half his life in prison. He was only just released in May.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.