EVERETT — The parents of John Reed, the Oso killer, pleaded guilty Thursday, admitting they helped their son flee the country after a calculated double murder.
Clyde Reed, 83, and Faye Reed, 79, became entangled in the case in 2016, when they were each charged with rendering criminal assistance, a felony, for giving their son a getaway car and cash.
Clyde Reed arrived in a Snohomish County courtroom Thursday with the aid of a walker, breathing through oxygen tubes. His wife walked with a cane. Both parents pleaded guilty to obstructing law enforcement, a misdemeanor. A sentencing hearing has been set for Sept. 11.
John Reed, 55, shot his neighbors, Monique Patenaude and Patrick Shunn, in April 2016, over a land dispute in the aftermath of the Oso mudslide. They were executed, according to prosecutors. John Reed recruited his brother, Tony Reed, to help hide the bodies off a logging road.
After the burial, the brothers visited their parents in Ellensburg, according to testimony at trial. The brothers then drove through Arizona on their way to Mexico.
Early in the investigation, Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives searched the elder Reeds’ home. They found a vehicle with blood inside.
The parents admitted to providing their sons the means to escape, according to investigators. They also transferred the title of John Reed’s truck to his mother’s name.
In a search warrant from 2016, detectives wrote: “John and Tony’s parents have made it clear that they would not assist law enforcement in apprehending their sons, in fact, they are doing the complete opposite by assisting their sons in avoiding apprehension.”
Faye Reed told a detective that “if she contacted her sons first, she would shoot them herself because she wouldn’t want to see them go to prison,” detectives wrote.
Clyde Reed reportedly told investigators that he cleaned John Reed’s truck because it was dirty. When police arrived, the mats were missing.
Detectives found John Reed’s parents had tried to funnel tens of thousands of dollars to their son, three days after his neighbors went missing. Police were able to freeze those transactions.
John Reed went to trial earlier this year. A jury convicted him in May of aggravated first-degree murder in Shunn’s death. Jurors found the killing was premeditated. They also found him guilty of second-degree murder in Patenaude’s death.
Shunn was 45. Patenaude was 46.
On July 6, the killer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the only option for the judge under state law. Reed now is at a state prison in Shelton.
Tony Reed, 51, spent time behind bars for the coverup. He testified against his brother as part of a plea agreement.
“At the time,” he said, “I thought we were getting away with it.”
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.