SEATTLE – Prosecutors filed four counts of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of arson Monday against a man accused of knifing an Iraq soldier’s family to death and burning the home to conceal the crime.
According to court documents, Conner Michael Schierman, 24, told investigators he had an alcoholic blackout and woke up in the victims’ Kirkland home early on July 17 covered in blood. He doused the home with gasoline and set it on fire, the charging papers said.
Schierman, who is being held on $10 million bail, could face the death penalty if convicted. The killings occurred just weeks after he moved in across the street from the family of National Guard Sgt. Leonid Milkin, who was granted leave and returned from Baghdad last week.
Killed were Olga Milkin, 28; her sons Justin, 5, and Andrew, 3; and her sister, Lyubov Botvina, 24, who lived at the house.
King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng choked up when he said that the horrific nature of the crime was compounded because Milkin was serving in Iraq when the crime occurred.
“Sergeant Milkin put himself in harm’s way in service to his country,” Maleng said. “He had no reason to fear for the safety of his family back home in a peaceful neighborhood in Kirkland.”
Detectives found a hunting knife believed to be the murder weapon in the victims’ home, the court documents said.
In addition, video from a surveillance camera at a nearby gas station shows him filling two gas containers before the fire was set, the documents say.
Although investigators have declined to discuss to what extent the defendant knew the victims, Maleng said “there is compelling evidence of premeditation.” He declined to elaborate.
Maleng said he will give “serious consideration” to seeking the death penalty. He has 30 days to make that decision. Schierman is scheduled to be arraigned July 31.