Four suspected in death of pregnant Oroville woman will be tried next year

OKANOGAN – The trials of four people suspected in the death of a pregnant Oroville woman have been continued until next year.

Prosecuting attorney Karl Sloan said the trials for Tansy Fae Arwen Mathis, Brent L. Phillips and David Eugene Richards have been continued until Tuesday, Jan. 12 while the trial for Lacey Hirst-Pavek has been continued until Tuesday, March 9. Each is accused of having a hand in the death of Michelle Kitterman.

In a related matter, Mathis, who is pregnant herself, has filed a civil complaint against Okanogan County and Noah A. Stewart, chief corrections deputy.

“The plaintiff has filed a complaint for injunctive relief and a motion for preliminary injunction requesting the following relief,” court documents state. “That the defendants be prohibited 1) from further violating Tansy Mathis’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Ninth Amendment in any manner, 2) from further violating her right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution and the Washington State Constitution, 3) from shackling Tansy Mathis during her labor, during the delivery of her daughter and the recovery thereafter, 4) from posting male guards in the delivery room and during her surgery, 5) from further shackling her feet in any way while she is made to walk while pregnant for any reason and 6) from further restraining her hands against her torso or using any other restraint of her hands other than handcuffs while she is made to walk while pregnant for any reason.”

Stephen Bozart, chief civil deputy with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, said the county has been in contact with Mathis’s doctors and is doing what they can to provide appropriate medical care to Mathis.

“We want to provide good medical care but she’s charged with a very serious crime and we want to ensure safety first,” Bozart said.

He said he will be preparing an answer to this complaint and that a date for a hearing has yet to be set as of Monday, Nov. 9.

“Stephen Graham, Mathis’s attorney, has attempted to discuss the concerns that Mathis has,” court documents state. “However, Stewart indicated that he was unwilling to discuss the issue with Graham when called on Nov. 2. It was clear that he was ignorant of the health risks that he was causing for Mathis and her unborn child. Stewart would not rule out the use of shackles during Mathis’s upcoming surgery or the delivery of her child. This matter was brought to the attention of the County Attorney, Sloan, but he indicated that he did not have any authority over Stewart. Graham proposed to Stewart that they sit down to discuss this with Mathis’s health care providers but he refused. He would not discuss the matter with Graham on the phone and would not rule out the use of shackles during delivery of the child because he perceived her as a ‘flight risk’ and had contacts ‘on the outside’.”

Mathis, Richards and Phillips are all being charged with Aggravated First Degree Murder, Aggravated First Degree Manslaughter and First Degree Kidnapping. Mathis and Phillips are also being charged with First Degree Tampering with Physical Evidence. They are all being held in Okanogan Jail for $1 million bail. Hirst-Pavek is being charged with First Degree Murder and First Degree Manslaughter.

According to court documents, Kitterman was having an affair with Hirst-Pavek’s husband, Daniel Pavek, and was pregnant with his child. Hirst-Pavek allegedly made comments that she wanted Kitterman “taken care of.”

As a result of an investigation, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department determined that Hirst-Pavek eventually made contact with Mathis in reference to Kitterman and over several meetings, in Okanogan County and Spokane, they came to an agreement for Mathis to take care of Kitterman for $500.

On Sunday, March 1, the body of Kitterman was found in the driveway of 193 Stalder Road in Tonasket. According to court documents the autopsy’s preliminary results indicated the cause of death was homicidal violence and that Kitterman was about 11 weeks pregnant.

Mathis was arrested in Spokane on March 26. Phillips was arrested in Seattle that same day. Richards turned himself in to the Spokane Police Department on April 5 after a warrant for his arrest was issued on at the end of March. On Thursday, April 2, Hirst-Pavek was released on bail after being arrested on March 31.

All four defendants have pled not guilty to all charges.