Mental exam OK’d for suspect in Everett couple’s deaths

EVERETT — Defense attorneys for an Oregon man accused of killing an Everett couple want him to be evaluated to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

David “Joey” Pedersen’s lawyers told a judge last week that there are reasons to doubt that their client can assist in his defense. They successfully petitioned for Pedersen, 31, to be evaluated by doctors at Western State Hospital.

Pedersen and his girlfriend, Holly Grigsby, are charged with two counts of aggravated murder. They are accused of killing Pedersen’s estranged father, David “Red” Pedersen, and his wife, Leslie “DeeDee” Pedersen, in September.

Prosecutors aren’t expected to decide whether to seek the death penalty for the Oregon couple until April.

The pair also are suspects in two other homicides — one in Oregon and one in California.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Linda Krese agreed to send Joey Pedersen to a state hospital for an evaluation.

Lawyers were told it could take weeks for a bed to open up there.

Krese set a hearing for Dec. 16 to check on the status of the evaluation. If Pedersen isn’t transported to the hospital by then, she ordered officials from the hospital to call her with an explanation for the delay.

Pedersen remained in the county jail Thursday.

Prosecutors allege that he and Grigsby began a violent crime spree in Everett after a weekend visit with Pedersen’s father. Joey Pedersen allegedly admitted that he killed his father because of allegations that he molested a family member. Investigators have not said if the sexual abuse allegations have been confirmed.

Red Pedersen, 59, was shot to death in his Jeep while he drove his son and Grigsby to the bus station. The defendants allegedly returned to Red Pedersen’s home, where they killed DeeDee Pedersen, according to charging papers.

Investigators believe the pair drove to Oregon in the slain man’s vehicle with him in the passenger seat. Detectives later found the former U.S. Marine in his Jeep down an steep embankment off a logging road in Oregon.

Investigators believe after the couple ditched the Jeep they carjacked and killed Cody Myers, 19. They also are suspects in the shooting death of Reginald Clark. The disabled man’s body was found in his pickup truck not far from a California grocery store where he encountered Grigsby. The pair was arrested in California, driving Myers’ vehicle.

Grigsby allegedly told investigators that the Oregon teen was killed because he had a “Jewish sounding” last name. The couple have suspected ties to white supremacist groups.

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

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