EVERETT, Wash. – A man was convicted Wednesday of killing his former neighbors and hiding their bodies in the woods northeast of Seattle after one of them told authorities he was squatting at the house he sold following a devastating landslide.
A jury found John Reed, 55, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Patrick Shunn, 45, and second-degree murder in the death Monique Patenaude, 46, and the Daily Herald reported . He faces life in prison.
Prosecutors said Reed killed Patenaude and then fatally shot Shunn several hours later as he arrived home on April 11, 2016, near Oso, a small community that was the site of the nation's worst landslide in 2014.
Reed had an ongoing feud with the couple and threatened to shoot them after they cut brush next to his property in 2013, according to prosecutors. Deputies described Reed as an aggressive neighbor.
After the landslide, Reed sold his property to the county under a flood-mitigation program. Several weeks before Patenaude was killed, she reported that Reed had been illegally squatting, according to charging documents.
Reed testified last week that he shot Patenaude and Shunn in self-defense after the couple confronted him at his former property. He claimed he "panicked" and had his brother, Tony Reed, help him bury the couple's bodies and stash the couple's vehicles.
The brothers fled to Mexico after the slayings. Mexican authorities arrested John Reed more than two months later.
Tony Reed had already turned himself in and led detectives to the couple's gravesite. He was sentenced to 14 months in jail after pleading guilty to rendering criminal assistance.
Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty against John Reed. He also was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm after a trial that lasted over two weeks in Snohomish County Superior Court.
Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com