WATERVILLE – During the fourth day of testimony in Lacey Hirst-Pavek’s trial for her suspected involvement in the murder of Michelle Kitterman, a witness was able to connect her with the three people already convicted in the case.
While being examined by Prosecuting Attorney Karl Sloan, Brian Hohman from Spokane connected Hirst-Pavek to Tansy Mathis, David Richards and Brent Phillips during his testimony on Monday, Nov. 8. Hohman was a customer of Mathis’ and Mathis introduced him to Richards. Through his drug buying relationship with Richards, Hohman met Phillips, whom he only knew as “Hollywood.” Hohman knew Mathis for approximately eight months prior to the murder of Kitterman in the early morning hours of March 1, 2009, according to his testimony.
During this period, Hohman said he had been to Mathis’ residence and she had been to his. He said he and the mother of his children had babysat Mathis’ children when she had business to conduct and they had a friendship. Hohman said toward the end of February 2009 he was having trouble contacting Mathis when he needed drugs, so he would contact Richards. For two days at the end of this month, Hohman was told by Richards’ cousin Jeff “Bubba” Boughter that Richards was out of town, so Hohman was getting drugs from Boughter.
Hohman said when Richards returned from being out of town, he went to see Richards to get better drugs. While he was there, “Hollywood,” whom Hohman identified through a mug shot of Phillips, arrived at Richards’ home in a panic, Hohman said. He also said Phillips was paranoid and couldn’t sit still while he tried to find paper and then tried to write on the paper. Hohman left Richards’ home shortly after Phillips’ arrival on March 2, 2009 and was pulled over almost immediately with Boughter and two others in his vehicle. Hohman said he was arrested during that traffic stop and was released on March 3, 2009.
Shortly after this arrest, Hohman checked a voicemail message he had received from Mathis that she had left days before. Hohman said Mathis’ message said she was being investigated for a murder and that she needed his help. He said he arranged a meeting with Mathis during which she was very nervous and paranoid. For his help, Hohman said he told Mathis she needed to tell him everything that had happened.
“[Mathis] told me what happened and asked me to go over the mountain to go to the home of the woman who rented the car for her and tell her to shut her mouth,” Hohman said. “[Mathis] told me she and Hollywood went over to introduce Hollywood as the man to a woman who was going to roll over on Mathis. She told me they were being offered dope to do this.”
Hohman said Mathis told him she had been offered $2,000 to beat somebody up, a woman she referred to as a “bag whore,” which he explained meant a person who will have sex for drugs. At the time, Hohman said he didn’t know the woman was Kitterman. Hohman said Mathis told him the woman was having an affair with a married man and that man’s wife was the woman who rented a vehicle for Mathis to do the job in. Hohman said Mathis said the woman’s name was either Shelly or Sherrie but that her last name was Pavek. He said Mathis told him where Pavek lived and described her as chubby with short hair and glasses.
After introducing Hollywood to Kitterman as the man, Hohman said Mathis told him they drove on some back roads to get to a casino before stopping on the side of the road. Mathis told Hohman that Kitterman and Phillips left the vehicle and while they were outside, Mathis said she heard Phillips stab Kitterman once and that Kitterman then ran back to the vehicle screaming for help. Hohman said Mathis told him she heard Phillips stab Kitterman four more times. Once Mathis told Hohman her story, he said he told her they could do what Mathis wanted, for Hohman to go see Pavek and tell her to keep her mouth shut, or they could go to the police together and talk to them. He said Mathis said they could not go talk to the cops, according to Hohman’s testimony.
“I was planning to go to law enforcement anyway because I knew it was wrong, but I wanted [Mathis] to trust me and keep talking to me,” Hohman said.
After he was done speaking with Mathis, Hohman said he went home and contacted law enforcement. Since he thought Tonasket was in Stevens County, he said he contacted the Spokane Sheriff’s Department and had them connect him to the Stevens County Sheriff’s Department. Through the Stevens County Sheriff’s Department, Hohman spoke with Captain Michael George, who said he was contacted at home about a possible murder in Stevens County.
George said by investigating the little information Hohman left with dispatch, he discovered there was a Tansy who was a person of interest in a murder in Okanogan County and learned that Michelle Kitterman was the victim. George said he spoke with Hohman three times. Originally, George said Hohman asked for help getting charges in Spokane County dropped against him in exchange for the information he had about the murder. George determined there were no charges against Hohman at this time but before telling Hohman, he said Hohman told him he was worried about the safety of himself and his family. He also said that he would do jail time for his charges if he had to and that he would work with the police regarding the murder.
During Boughter’s testimony, he said a woman matching Mathis’ description came to Richards’ home while Boughter was living there and asked him for help with a taxing job. Boughter said Richards planned on going with Mathis to do the taxing job but that Hollywood told the woman she should take him with her instead. Boughter said Richards was upset he didn’t get to go on the job because he thought he wouldn’t be paid since he didn’t go.
Through cross examination with Defense Attorney Ron Hammett, Boughter said Richards wrote to him from prison and told him to tell the truth. When Hammett asked Boughter if Richards was asking for him to be his alibi, Boughter said “yes.”
The state is expecting to finish calling witnesses by Friday, Nov. 12 while evidence in the trial, now in its second week, is expected to last a total of three weeks before the jury receives the case and goes into deliberations. The jury will then be expected to determine whether or not Hirst-Pavek is guilty of charges of first degree premeditated murder and first degree manslaughter.
On Tuesday, May 11, Mathis and Richards received sentencing for guilty verdicts delivered at the end of April.
Mathis received the top range of sentencing for her crimes. On count one, aggravated murder in the first degree, 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 to 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 sentencing for Phillips, who pled guilty to premeditated murder in the first degree, manslaughter of a quick child in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree and tampering with physical evidence on Monday, March 29, has been continued by council and has not yet been scheduled.