OKANOGAN – Lacey Kae Hirst-Pavek, found guilty as an accomplice in aggravated first degree murder and first degree manslaughter in the death of Michelle Kitterman, has lost an appeal of those convictions.
Hirst-Pavek contended that the trial court erred in concluding she had no reasonable privacy expectation in her employment and vehicle rental records, according to Washington State Court of Appeals documents issued June 12, 2012.
In their ruling, the Court of Appeals agreed with the Okanogan County Prosecutor’s office that Hirst-Pavek “was consumed by her husband’s affair with Michelle Kitterman and Ms. Kitterman’s resultant pregnancy. Ms. Hirst-Pavek wanted Ms. Kitterman to terminate the pregnancy. Her animosity toward Ms. Kitterman is amply shown by her frequent disparaging comments to others, her deteriorating work performance at Sunrise Chevrolet and her attempts to have Ms. Kitterman arrested for drug dealing and driving Ms. Hirst-Pavek’s truck without a license. Ultimately, Ms. Hirst-Pavek contacted and facilitated others to confront Ms. Kitterman, resulting in Ms. Kitterman’s homicide and the death of her unborn child.”
Okanogan County Prosecutor Karl Sloan said the issues raised in the appeal and the decision of the Appeals Court went the way his office thought they would and the way the prosecution argued them.
“There was no new ground broken…they didn’t find any significant issues, it is clear when you read the decision by the Appeals Court,” said Sloan. “In one issue the appellant argued that the jury was advised that they didn’t have to find her intent to convict. Clearly she had the intent, but it wasn’t required to find her guilty. She just needed to have the knowledge to facilitate the crime.”
Another issue, were the records for the rental vehicle from Sunrise Chevrolet that Hirst-Pavek is said to have rented for her accomplice Tansey Mathis, a methamphetamine dealer from Spokane who was acquainted with both Hirst-Pavek and Kitterman.
“One of the other issues raised by the appellant was that the trial court should have suppressed admission of the rental car and employment records. Even though the court of appeals indicated the records were not the type of record that revealed intimate details (i.e. were not records where there is an expectation of privacy), they ruled they did not even have to reach that question, because Sunrise employees, other witnesses, and the defendant’s statements established the same facts independent of the records, making the privacy question about the records moot,” said Sloan.
Hirst-Pavek now has 30 days to decide whether she will seek review of her case by the state Supreme Court, according to Sloan.
“A defendant convicted of a felony has the right to appeal. She appealed and she lost. If she asks the Supreme Court to rule then it is up to that court to decide whether they will review the case. If they don’t accept the case then her right to appeal her conviction is pretty much over,” Sloan said.
In late January or February of 2009 Hirst-Pavek was said to have met with Mathis in Spokane and asked her if she could “get her (Kitterman) to go away.” Hirst-Pavek is said to have later told a co-worker she had gone to Spokane to hire someone to “take care of” Kitterman, but couldn’t “go through with it,” according to court documents.
On Feb. 25 she met Mathis again and she the next day she rented a 2008 Chevy Trailblazer from her employer. Brent Phillips, who confessed to his role in the murder, testified that he and Mathis drove to a house south of Tonasket near where Kitterman was living and persuaded Kitterman to leave with them promising drugs among other things. They drove to a location on Stalder Road near Republic and Phillips beat and choked Kitterman and Mathis began stabbing her with an ice pick belonging to David Richards, who was also convicted in the killing with Mathis and Phillips, although he was not present.
The Hirst-Pavek murder trial was moved out of Okanogan County and she was convicted by an Douglas County jury on Nov. 16, 2010 and later sentenced to life without parole on the first degree murder trial and 126 months in the death of Kitterman’s unborn child.
On April 22, 2010, after less than 24 hours of deliberation, an Okanogan County jury found Mathis, 30, guilty of aggravated first degree murder, first degree manslaughter of an unborn child, first degree kidnapping and tampering with evidence. Richards, 34, of Spokane, was found guilty of second degree murder and first degree manslaughter plus the enhancement of being armed.
On the first count Mathis received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. On count two, first degree manslaughter of an unborn child, she received the top range of a sentence of 78 to 102 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. For count three, kidnapping in the first degree, Mathis received the top range of a sentence of 51 to 68 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. Finally, for count four, tampering with physical evidence, she received one year.
For Richards’ first count of second degree murder he received a mid-range sentence of a 165 to 265 month sentence range, which comes to 215 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. For his conviction of manslaughter of an unborn child, Richards was sentenced a mid-range sentence from the range of 111 to 147 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon.
The third suspect, Phillips, 39, of Spokane, plead guilty earlier to first degree murder and testified at the trial of Mathis and Richards.
Prosecutor Sloan said that Phillips guilty plea means he is unable to appeal his conviction, however, Mathis and Richards have the right to appeal. Sloan said the two are currently sitting and waiting on a decision by the Appellate Court on a case that is similar to theirs before proceeding with their appeal.
“Because the issue is similar their appeal is being held off until a decision is made on that issue before they address it. That’s not uncommon,” said Sloan.