John Blaine Reed talks to his public defenders Whitney Rivera, right, and Paul Thompson during his arraignment at Snohomish County Courthouse, on two counts of aggravated murder for the killings of his former neighbors Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016 in Everett, Wa. His trial is scheduled for April 2017. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

John Blaine Reed talks to his public defenders Whitney Rivera, right, and Paul Thompson during his arraignment at Snohomish County Courthouse, on two counts of aggravated murder for the killings of his former neighbors Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016 in Everett, Wa. His trial is scheduled for April 2017. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

John Reed pleads not guilty in slaying of Oso couple

EVERETT — The man suspected of killing his former Oso neighbors faced a Snohomish County judge Monday afternoon some three months after sheriff’s detectives sought his arrest.

John Blaine Reed, 53, pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated murder. He was allowed to appear in slacks and a button-down shirt during the brief hearing. Reporters were not allowed to photograph him walking into the courtroom in shackles.

Homicide detectives booked Reed into the Snohomish County Jail in Everett on Friday evening. Police in Sonora, Mexico, arrested him July 21 and turned him over to U.S. authorities in Arizona. Reed did not fight his return to Snohomish County.

Superior Court Judge Linda Krese agreed Monday that Reed should be held without bail. She scheduled his trial for April 7, 2017.

Reed is accused of killing his former Oso neighbors, Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude on April 11. The pair was shot execution-style and their bodies buried in a clearcut area several miles from their rural home. A couple of days later Reed and his brother allegedly fled the state after obtaining a vehicle and money from their parents in Ellensburg.

“With the support of his friends and family, he looks forward to substantively addressing and defending against the state’s accusations in the months ahead,” Reed’s attorney Jon Scott wrote in a statement released to reporters Monday.

Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe has until Nov. 10 to decide if his office will seek the death penalty. Reed’s attorneys agreed to waive the 30-day deadline to give Roe more time to consider possible mitigation materials.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a moratorium on executions in 2014. Roe has declined to seek the death penalty in recent aggravated murder cases, including a man accused of gunning down two people outside an Everett house. The only other punishment for an aggravated murder conviction is life behind bars without the possibility of release.

Scott urged Roe not to seek Reed’s execution.

“Death should not be his choice. In recent weeks and months, our community has seen enough death. More killing is not a reasonable response to such tragedy. This case presents an opportunity for our elected prosecutor to send the message that no insult or injury, no matter how egregious or hurtful, justifies the taking of human life,” Scott wrote.

The couple’s friend, Margaret Hedlund, held a different opinion Monday afternoon. She said she hopes Roe will seek the death penalty for the man accused of “viciously” murdering her friends in “cold blood.” She attended Monday’s hearing, not knowing what to expect. She said she doesn’t want the community to forget her friends. The slain couple’s families live in Oregon and Canada and weren’t at Monday’s hearing.

“Everybody needs to have faith that there will be justice,” Hedlund said.

Prosecutors allege that Reed killed the couple over a long-standing property dispute. The defendant and his neighbors reportedly bickered over an easement road that provided access to Reed’s former property. The road ran across the slain couple’s property.

Patenaude had told friends that Reed had threatened her and her husband multiple times. She said the dispute became worse after the Oso mudslide. Reed allegedly was upset with how Snohomish County was dealing with property owners affected by the deadly slide.

He eventually sold his property to the county as part of a buyout program. Reed allegedly was still squatting at his former home even after the sale. Patenaude reported him to the county, according to court documents. County officials ordered Reed to back up his belongings and leave.

He allegedly told two witnesses on April 11 that he was moving the rest of his stuff out of his former house. Detectives suspect that Patenaude, 46, was shot at close range when she returned home that morning from running errands in Arlington. The medical examiner found three separate gunshot wounds. Shunn, 45, was likely killed later that same day when he returned home from work.

He was shot once in the back of the head. Prosecutors allege that the former Army Ranger was ambushed and likely didn’t get a chance to defend himself.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson filed aggravated murder charges against Reed on July 20 after consulting with the medical examiner about the couple’s injuries. Reed was arrested the next day in Mexico.

Matheson has filed criminal charges against most of Reed’s immediate family. Reed’s parents, Clyde and Faye, were in court late last week to answer to allegations they helped their son flee the country and discarded possible evidence. Faye Reed, 77, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Her husband, 81, asked for more time to hire an attorney.

Their other son, Tony Clyde Reed, admitted that he helped his brother bury the victims and dispose of their vehicles. Tony Reed pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance at a hearing last month. He faces about 14 months in prison.

He fled to Mexico with his brother, but surrendered in May. He later provided homicide detectives with information that led them to the grave where Shunn and Patenaude had been buried.

A hearing was scheduled Tuesday to determine whether the county must release documents from the investigation in response to public records requests brought by two people who have taken steps to shield their identities.

Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss earlier sided with county prosecutors and granted a temporary injunction against the records’ release.

The county in May refused to provide access to the case file, citing the then-active nature of the investigation. They also said they feared those behind the records request may somehow be trying to help the defendants avoid justice.

The requesters filed pleadings last week, still taking steps to obscure their identities. They insist they have no connection to the Reeds.

In a pleading that totaled more than 100-pages with attachments, the requesters said they were being treated unfairly. They asked that their legal challenge to the county’s handling of their records request be moved out of Snohomish County.

“The subsequent biased and inaccurate media coverage that followed, the results of which strongly suggests bias in the community, justifies change of venue,” they said in court papers.

The pair said they hired a Seattle attorney to help them with communication, but they are legally representing themselves.

Reporter Scott North contributed to this story.

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

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