EVERETT — Tony Reed isn’t expected to spend much more time behind bars for his part in helping hide the bodies of a slain Oso couple last year.
A judge on Monday sentenced him to 14 months in prison, with credit for time served. Reed, 50, has been in the Snohomish County Jail since May 20.
“It’s not enough time,” Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair said. “It barely holds you accountable for what you did.”
The judge said she didn’t have the leeway to sentence Reed to more time in prison. By law, she was required to stay within the sentencing range as established by the Legislature. A 14-month sentence was the maximum allowed.
His heinous actions and his cowardice “increased the grief and distress of this family,” Fair said. “Mr. Reed should never have agreed to do these things.”
Reed declined to address the court Monday. He had pleaded guilty last year to two counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance. The Ellensburg man admitted that he tried to help his brother, John Reed, hide from law enforcement.
John Blaine Reed is accused of killing his former neighbors, Monique Patenaude and Patrick Shunn. The couple’s bodies were discovered in a makeshift grave a few miles north of their rural home about a month after their disappearance.
Prosecutors allege that John Reed shot the couple execution-style over a long-standing property dispute. Shunn, 45, a former U.S. Army Ranger, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Patenaude, 46, died from multiple gunshot wounds. They were last seen alive April 11, 2016.
John Reed is charged with two counts of aggravated murder. Reed, 54, is scheduled to go to trial in September. If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of release.
As part of his plea agreement, Tony Reed must cooperate with prosecutors and testify during his brother’s trial.
He initially was charged with murder, but prosecutors reduced the charge when investigators were able to confirm that the younger Reed was hunting agate rocks with friends in Ellensburg the day of the killings.
Tony Reed told investigators his brother showed up in Ellensburg and asked him to accompany him to Oso. It wasn’t until the younger Reed got there that he learned of the killings and his brother’s alleged involvement, according to court papers.
He described helping his brother bury the bodies. He also assisted driving the victims’ vehicles over an embankment where they covered them with cut tree branches.
“He was up to his eyeballs in the hiding of the evidence,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson said Monday.
The Reed brothers reportedly headed back to Ellensburg, where John Reed tried to cash a $96,000 cashier’s check at a bank in Ellensburg. The money came from the recent sale of Reed’s Oso property, which was damaged in the 2014 mudslide.
The bank refused to provide him the money in a lump sum. Instead, it wrote four checks for $14,000 each to his relatives and a $40,000 check to John Reed. Law enforcement was able to get a “stop payment” order placed on the checks and freeze the transactions.
Detectives allege that attempts were made by his family to funnel the money to John Reed. Prosecutors have charged his parents with rendering criminal assistance. Clyde Reed, 81, and Faye Reed, 77, are scheduled to go to trial in December.
Prosecutors allege the couple helped their sons escape to Mexico and provided a getaway vehicle.
At one point, parents and sons were all housed at the Snohomish County Jail, Patrick Shunn’s father, Michael Shunn, said Monday.
“This family is a family of weeds,” he said. “They need to be kept off the streets.”
Patrick Shunn’s uncle explained that his nephew was named after him. That honor was taken away on April 11, 2016, he said. It is hard to understand how someone could dump his nephew and his wife in the ground and then run like cowards.
“These are not men. These are animals,” the slain man’s uncle said.
Violet Lindberg learned that her close friend, Monique, was missing on April 12, 2016. She traveled from a small island in Canada to her friend’s home. She said she saw Tony Reed on his brother’s former property.
“He could have at any time told us what happened. He could have ended the search to find Monique and Patrick’s bodies,” she wrote. “Instead he chose to run with his brother.”
Tony Reed turned himself in at the California-Mexico border on May 16, 2016. He later helped Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives find the site where Shunn and Patenaude were buried. Their bodies were recovered May 25.
John Reed was captured in July by Mexican authorities, who expelled him from the country for immigration violations. The U.S. Marshal’s Office had been working with authorities from the Policia Estatal Investigadora in Sonora, Mexico, to root out the fugitive.
Prosecutors allege there had been bad blood between Reed and his neighbors for years. That grew worse after the Oso mudslide that killed 43 people.
Witnesses told detectives Patenaude feared her former neighbor’s temper. He was angry about the condemnation of his property and, later, being trespassed from it, court papers said. He allegedly threatened the Oso couple on multiple occasions.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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