Tony Reed (center) leaves the courtroom during a jury break, glancing toward the seating area for the families of victims Monique Patenaude and Patrick Shunn. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Tony Reed (center) leaves the courtroom during a jury break, glancing toward the seating area for the families of victims Monique Patenaude and Patrick Shunn. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Accused killer’s brother ‘thought we were getting away with it’

Tony Reed testified that he helped defendant John Reed hide the bodies of a slain Oso couple.

EVERETT — When his brother John told him he needed help burying the bodies of his neighbors off a logging road near Oso, Tony Reed did not ask questions. He didn’t want to know how they died, he said on the witness stand Tuesday.

“If I don’t know, then I couldn’t testify,” he said.

“And you wouldn’t be in a position like you are today?” asked Craig Matheson, Snohomish County’s chief criminal deputy prosecutor.

“Yeah, right, well, at the time, I thought we were getting away with it,” Tony Reed said.

John Reed, 55, is on trial this week for two counts of aggravated murder. He, too, is expected to testify — to his claim the killings were in self-defense.

Tony Reed, 51, took the stand Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court wearing a short-sleeved plaid shirt, in front of a crowded gallery.

Two years ago, the Reeds were tight, he said. He thought of John as a “bad-ass dude” and a “tough mother (expletive).”

He was aware his brother was in a feud with his neighbors, Monique Patenaude and Patrick Shunn. They owned an easement road to John Reed’s former home in Oso and kept a close eye on it, according to the testimony. Reed accepted a federal disaster buyout not long before the shootings. He’d been accused of squatting after the sale closed. But the way Tony Reed figured it, he said, John Reed hadn’t cashed the check and therefore still owned the land.

After showing Tony Reed (left) an evidence photo Tuesday, Snohomish County chief deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson listens as Reed testifies. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

After showing Tony Reed (left) an evidence photo Tuesday, Snohomish County chief deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson listens as Reed testifies. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

One day in April 2016, Tony Reed had been looking for rocks — Ellensburg blue agate — until dark, east of the Cascades, when his brother asked him to drive across the mountain pass, he testified. Sometime during the three-hour drive, John Reed relayed to him that the neighbors were dead.

“What was your reaction, when you realized what your brother had just told you?” Matheson asked.

“I was just thinking about what we had to do,” Tony Reed said. “It gives you kind of an adrenaline rush, because it’s not what I was planning to do, obviously, but, you know. … They’re dead. There’s nothing you can do about them. My brother wasn’t dead. I was trying to save him.”

In court, John Reed shook his head slightly at his brother’s words. Tony Reed recounted the slain couple had been loaded into their own vehicles — a Land Rover and a Jeep — by the time he arrived in Snohomish County. The brothers drove slowly up a rough mountain road in the dark in the two vehicles until they reached a clearcut deep in the woods, about a half-hour later.

Tony Reed said he picked a spot where a tree had blown over. The roots had ripped up the ground, loosening the soil. The brothers brought one shovel, so they took turns digging, Tony Reed testified.

They returned to Oso for showers and a nap. Tony Reed wanted to burn the couple’s vehicles.

“The reason you’d do that?” Matheson asked.

“Get rid of all the evidence,” Tony Reed said.

“DNA?”

“Fingerprints, blood, whatever.”

They worried about the smoke from a fire, Tony Reed said. The brothers worked for most of a day to hide the vehicles in the woods. Tony Reed recalled hearing a helicopter overhead. He figured the crew was searching for signs of Patenaude and Shunn. The brothers camouflaged the evidence with tarps and brush.

Later, the vehicles were spotted. Word was out: Detectives were looking for John.

“He wasn’t really sure what to do, you know?” Tony Reed said. “So I said, ‘Why don’t you take off?’ ”

The brothers drove to their mother’s place in Ellensburg, and then to Arizona, taking her car. From there, they traveled in a friend’s vehicle to Mexico. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have gone,” Tony Reed said.

John Reed became worried they might get shot by police, according to the testimony. In May 2016, Tony Reed surrendered at the border, alone.

“It was my brother’s idea,” Tony Reed said. “I didn’t really want to.”

Tony Reed led police to the bodies. He later pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance and was sentenced to 14 months in prison. As part of the plea agreement, Tony Reed had to testify during his brother’s trial. In opening statements, Matheson warned jurors that Tony Reed’s testimony needed to be verified through other sources. On Tuesday, Tony Reed admitted to telling a series of lies to detectives, saying he feels differently about telling the truth in court, under oath.

He had only seen Patenaude and Shunn once, before April, he testified. The couple had been removing a fallen tree from their driveway. He patted their dog and asked its name.

Back then, he knew his brother and the couple were in a dispute over property lines and access to the easement road, he said.

“I don’t think he said he threatened to kill them,” he said. “He might have.”

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton @heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Everett
Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Patrick Kunz speaks during his sentencing on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington.(Annie Barker / The Herald)
Everett gymnastics coach who spied on students sentenced to 6 months

Patrick Kunz, 47, pleaded guilty to charges of voyuerism and possession of child pornography last month.

Traffic moves along Highway 526 in front of Boeing’s Everett Production Facility on Nov. 28, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / Sound Publishing)
Everett transgender mechanic alleges Boeing treated her ‘like a zoo animal’

For years, Boeing allowed toxicity “to fester and grow” at its Everett factory, according to Rachel Rasmussen, an employee from 1989 to 2024.

Monroe High School (Monroe School District)
Monroe High School teacher accused of sexual misconduct, put on leave

Few details were not available Thursday afternoon. Police were seeking information from the public.

Everett
After 10 months, police make arrest in fatal Everett shooting

Police believe Malik “Capone” Fulson killed Joseph Haderlie, 27, in April 2023 outside an apartment complex on Casino Road.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

Ryan Rafter appears in court for sentencing Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of Everett father

In April 2022, Ryan Rafter, 42, shot Christopher Buck, 29, to death after breaking in to his home to steal drugs.

Marysville
Driver strikes, kills Marysville man who was crossing I-5 in Seattle

The man’s car had broken down near Mercer Street. Troopers reported that he was struck when he tried to cross the freeway.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Police: Darrington woman stabbed, buried 5-year-old daughter

The woman reportedly told investigators she was hearing voices before she killed her young daughter on Valentine’s Day.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.