A twisted modern-day white supremacist version of the storied outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde, are facing federal criminal charges for a hate-fueled crime spree that left four dead in Washington State, Oregon and California last autumn.
David Joseph Pedersen, 31, and his girlfriend Holly Ann Grisby, 24, are accused of embarking on a 10-day crime and murder spree that began September 26 and ended October 5. The affair gripped the attention of the Pacific Northwest region, Northern California and much of the West Coast.
Federal prosecutors allege the pair funded their wave of terror with credit cards stolen from their victims, and used their stolen cars to travel from one state to another.
The federal indictment against Pedersen and Grigsby
also charges the duo with targeting Jewish leaders, members of prominent Jewish organizations, and other “Zionists,” as well as using the media to publicize their movement in an attempt to spark a revolution.
The indictment further charges
Pedersen and Grigsby as members of a criminal enterprise that engaged in acts of violence and other criminal activity to promote a white supremacist movement to “purify” and “preserve” the white race.
Ten Days of Bloodshed and Terror
The couple’s crime and murder spree began September 26, 2011, in Everett, Washington, when Pedersen is alleged by authorities to have shot and killed his father David "Red'' Jones Pedersen, 56, in the head as he drove Pedersen and Grigsby to the Everett Transit Station to catch a bus.
The two then drove back to the Pedersen home where they bound the feet and hands of his stepmother, Leslie "DeeDee" Pedersen, 69, with duct tape. A criminal complaint by Snohomish County prosecutors says that Grigsby slit her throat using two different knives.
After the slayings of Pedersen's father and stepmother, the couple allegedly stole their SUV and fled to Newport, Oregon, where they befriended 19-year-old Cody Faye Myers of Lafayette (Oregon). Myers, a college student with a music major, was attending a jazz festival in Newport when he was befriended by Pedersen and Grigsby.
Authorities say that the duo then proceeded with Myers to Toledo, Oregon where they are alleged to have shot him dead and stole his car.
The couple transported Myers' body to Pioneer Mountain where it was later discovered by state and federal authorities a few days later after a statewide manhunt for the missing teen
At the time of his death, Myers was enrolled in courses at the Clackamas Community College’s Music Department. According to his family and college professors, Myers had a strong faith in Jesus Christ and had performed missionary work in Mexico and Somalia. His dream was to go into music ministry and perform missionary work full-time.
According to court documents, Grigsby told law enforcement they shot Myers "because his last name made them think he was Jewish.''
The terror duo drove Myers’ car to California and arrived in the city of Eureka on the night of October 4. The pair pulled into the parking lot of a grocery store where they encountered Reginald Alan Clark, 53.
Clark had just finished purchasing groceries when Grigsby approached him and began a conversation.
Security surveillance footage at the grocery store show both Grigsby and Clark walking out of the parking lot together while talking. Authorities say that Clark did not know Grigsby. Pedersen does not appear on any of the surveillance footage though it is believed he rejoined his girlfriend, Grigsby, shortly after she was able to lure their victim out of the parking lot.
Three days later, Clark is found dead in his pickup truck with a gunshot wound to the head just a few blocks from the grocery store.
Though authorities’ say that Pedersen and Grigsby had originally intended to take Clark’s truck, they say that the duo changed their minds because they felt it would draw police attention.
The pair would also later admit to slaying Clark because he was African-American.
Friends and neighbors remembered Clark as someone who liked to help the homeless. Clark himself endured on and off-again homelessness and drug addiction for nearly 20 years but was now drug-free and living in a home for persons with disabilities. He had regular contact with a social worker who delivered his medications once a week and regularly worked odd jobs for an income.
According to neighbors, Clark had lived on a very tight budget for a year in order to save up enough money to purchase the pickup truck Pedersen and Grigsby would later murder him for.
Clark had owned the pickup truck for less than a month. Prior to purchasing the vehicle, he got around town on a bicycle.
The End of a Hate-Fueled Reign of Terror
On October 5, Pedersen and Grigsby’s 10-day wave of terror finally came to an end when they were apprehended by troopers of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) on a highway near Yuba City. The CHP were already at a heightened state of alertness after state and federal officials in Oregon sent them a bulletin a few days prior telling them to be on the alert for Myers' stolen car after having recovered the teen’s body.
During a search of the duo and the car, CHP uncovered two handguns and a rifle as well as several “Ka-bar” military combat knives. Troopers reportedly uncovered at least one of the knives on the person of Grigsby.
Because of the fact Pedersen and Grigsby’s crime and murder spree was of an interstate nature, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assumed jurisdiction over the criminal investigation from municipal and state law enforcement agencies while the United States Department of Justice took over prosecution of the case from local District Attorneys.
Federal authorities extradited the pair to Portland where they are being held in federal custody while awaiting the start of their trial.
The FBI's Portland Field Office has taken the lead in the criminal investigation into the duo while Justice Department prosecutors in that city are making trial preparations as they pursue the charges against Pedersen and Grigsby.
Federal charges in the 24 page, 15 count indictment against the duo include conspiracy, racketeering, aggravated identity theft, credit card fraud, using a firearm in a crime of violence that caused death, kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death, transportation of stolen vehicles, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The indictment against Pedersen and Grigsby allege the duo “and others” were involved in a criminal conspiracy that included researching and gathering the names of prominent figures and professionals in Jewish communities based in Sacramento, Portland and Seattle for the purpose of conducting assassinations.
Federal prosecutors intend to try their case under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)
, claiming the couple was involved in a criminal enterprise aimed at furthering their white-supremacist beliefs.
If convicted of the federal charges against them under the RICO act, both Pedersen and Grigsby
face life-term prison sentences or the death penalty.
According to the Seattle Times
, David Pedersen is a three-time felon and an avowed white supremacist who in 2001 was sentenced to two years in federal prison for threatening to kill U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge in Boise, Idaho. Lodge presided over the trial of Randy Weaver, a militant white supremacist, for slaying a deputy U.S. Marshal during a standoff with federal authorities at the infamous Ruby Ridge incident in 1992. Pedersen was 13 at the time.
Pedersen has also been previously convicted of robbery and assault on a police officer. According to authorities, he has been in and out of prison since he was 16.
The letters “SWP” tattooed around Pedersen’s neck are an abbreviation for “Supreme White Power” and are common on members of the Nazi Low Riders, a prison-based white supremacist gang, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors the group.
According to court documents, Pedersen also has a tattoo of Adolf Hitler on his stomach and of a swastika on his chest above his heart.
After leaving prison, Pedersen briefly competed in bouts as a mixed martial artist in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) league.
In a jailhouse interview after his arrest with a California newspaper, Pedersen said that he had killed his father because he had molested his sister and cousin when they were younger. However, authorities have noted that the sexual abuse allegations against the elder Pedersen had not been substantiated.
has had several run-ins with the law that included two stints in jail on identity theft charges. While in prison she developed a reputation among her fellow inmates as being a hard individual and a feared fighter. However, friends and family describe her as naive and easily manipulated when it came to romantic relationships with men.
Grigsby, had previously worked at the Wetzel’s Pretzels in Lloyd Center, a major shopping mall in Portland.
She is also a young mother with a two year-old son from a previous marriage though she does not have custody of the child.
Grigsby had also spent much of her life battling addictions to heroin and crystal meth before she finally fell in with white supremacist groups in a desperate bid to escape that lifestyle.
Her father Fred Grigsby lamented her choice in choosing to associate with white supremacists and occasionally clashed with her over it.
Though it is unclear how exactly Grigsby met Pedersen, it is believed that they both frequented the same white supremacist circles.