Tonasket suspect allegedly paid $500 to have pregnant woman murdered

Lacey K. Hirst-Pavek, 33 of Tonasket, was arrested on March 31 for her alleged involvement in the Michelle Kitterman murder case. OCSO photo

Lacey K. Hirst-Pavek, 33 of Tonasket, was arrested on March 31 for her alleged involvement in the Michelle Kitterman murder case. OCSO photo

TONASKET – Lacey K. Hirst-Pavek, 33, Tonasket, was arrested on March 31 for her alleged involvement in the stabbing death of Michelle Kitterman, Oroville.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said Hirst-Pavek was a person of interest from the beginning, but it took time to put the case together.

“It appears that Hirst-Pavek’s husband was having an affair with Kitterman and that she was pregnant,” Rogers said. “When Hirst-Pavek learned of it, she began making comments that she wanted Kitterman dead and had also contacted individuals herself to have Kitterman beaten up.”

Through the investigation, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department determined that Hirst-Pavek eventually made contact with Tansy Fae Mathis, 29, Spokane, in reference to Kitterman and over several meetings, in Okanogan County and in Spokane, they allegedly came to an agreement for Mathis to “take care of Kitterman for $500,” according to Rogers.

“On the Thursday before the murder Hirst-Pavek rented a vehicle from her place of employment and gave it to Mathis to use,” Rogers said. “This was the vehicle that was used during the murder and later seized by detectives for processing. After the murder, Mathis and others cleaned the car out and then Hirst-Pavek returned it to her place of business.”

Hirst-Pavek was interviewed by Okanogan County detectives on Tuesday, March 31 and later arrested and transported to the Okanogan County Jail and booked for First Degree Murder and Manslaughter. She was released from Okanogan County Jail on Thursday, April 2 after her family paid her $250,000 bail.

A fourth suspect, David Eugene Richards, 33, Spokane, who was also wanted in the Kitterman murder case, turned himself into the Spokane Police Department, Sheriff Rogers said. Detectives will be going to Spokane this week to transport Richards back to Okanogan. A warrant for Richards had been issued on March 31, seeking him for First Degree Murder and Manslaughter.

“The investigation now shows that along with Tansy Mathis and Phillips, Richards was also present at the scene that night and was in fact involved in the stabbing of Kitterman with the ice pick,” Rogers said. “From all the evidence and statements from people involved in the whole thing, Richards has been put in the middle of this. The investigation is still ongoing and will continue for several more weeks, with possible additional arrests involving people who aided in the destruction of evidence or attempted to assist the suspects after the murder.”

Mathis, was arrested in Spokane on Thursday, March 26 and transported back to Okanogan County where she was booked for First Degree Murder, Manslaughter and Tampering with Physical Evidence.

On Friday, March 27, she was arraigned in the Okanogan County Jail In-Custody Courtroom during which her bail was set for no less than $1 million because she is believed to be a serious community safety risk and a flight risk.

The prosecuting attorney said the declaration of probable cause for the charges came from two statements from investigating officers involving statements allegedly made by Mathis and Brent L. “Hollywood” Phillips, the second suspect arrested in the case, as well as an autopsy, forensics from a Blazer and other items. The manslaughter charge stems from the fact that Kitterman had undergone an ultrasound prior to her death where the fetus was declared live and viable.

Sheriff Rogers said Kitterman and Mathis knew each other through different acquaintances and that he doesn’t see anything about Mathis having a criminal history in Okanogan County.

On Thursday, March 26, Okanogan County Detectives arrested Phillips in Seattle without incident and transported him back to Okanogan County. On Friday, March 27, he was booked into the Okanogan County Jail for First Degree Murder, Manslaughter and Evidence Tampering. He is also being held on $1 million bail.