Fourth homicide suspect enters not guilty plea

OKANOGAN - The fourth suspect in the Michelle Kitterman homicide investigation entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment hearing...

David Eugene Richards, the fourth suspect in the Michelle Kitterman homicide investigation, entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on Thursday, April 16. Photo by Emily Hanson

David Eugene Richards, the fourth suspect in the Michelle Kitterman homicide investigation, entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on Thursday, April 16. Photo by Emily Hanson

OKANOGAN – The fourth suspect in the Michelle Kitterman homicide investigation entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment hearing in the Okanogan County Jail In-Custody Courtroom on Thursday, April 16.

David Eugene Richards, 33 of Spokane, denied guilt for the charges of murder in the first degree for the death of Kitterman and manslaughter in the first degree for the death of Kitterman’s unborn child. He is currently being held in Okanogan County Jail for $1 million bail. Richards turned himself in to the Spokane Police Department on Sunday, April 5 after a warrant for his arrest was issued on Tuesday, March 31.

On Thursday, April 9, fellow suspects Lacey Hirst-Pavek, 33, Tonasket; Brent L. Phillips, 38, Spokane and Tansey Fae Arwen Mathis, 29, Spokane, also entered not guilty pleas.

Richards, Phillips and Mathis each have a jury trial scheduled for June 2 while Hirst-Pavek, who is out on $250,000 bail, has a jury trial scheduled for June 30.

Karl Sloan, Okanogan County Prosecuting Attorney, said that at this time no trial continuance motions have come before the court, but added that complex cases such as this usually do have continuances. Sloan will handle the prosecution against Phillips, Mathis and Richards, while Jennifer Richardson will handle the prosecution against Hirst-Pavek.

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.

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