Arguments set to start today in Quilcene double-murder retrial

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ORCHARD –– Opening arguments are expected to begin this morning in the second retrial of Michael J. Pierce, accused of murdering a Quilcene couple, after jury selection extended into a third day Wednesday.

Lawyers for both sides continued to interview potential jurors from Kitsap County through Wednesday afternoon in preparation for what Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Rosekrans estimated would be a three-week trial.

Arguments are set to begin before Superior Court Judge Sally Olsen at 9 a.m. at the Kitsap County Courthouse, 614 Division St., Port Orchard.

Pierce, 38, is accused of killing his employers, Pat and Janice Yarr, and then setting their Quilcene-area farmhouse on fire to cover up the deaths March 18, 2009.

Pierce, a Quilcene resident, was sentenced to 118 years for the double murders — as well as for the use of a firearm in each killing, first-degree robbery and burglary, theft of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and second-degree theft of an access device — after he was convicted in Jefferson County in 2010.

He was serving a life sentence at the state penitentiary in Walla Walla when the state Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial after determining statements he made to law enforcement officers after being arrested should have been suppressed.

His first retrial in July in Jefferson County was stopped in its fourth day of testimony when a juror, Laura Meynberg of Port Townsend, revealed that she may have seen Pierce walking by the side of U.S. Highway 101 one evening, though she could not recall the exact date, and the retrial was reset to be held in Kitsap County.

Meynberg can be called to testify by the prosecution in the current retrial, Olsen ruled.

Pierce, who had been held in the Jefferson County jail in Port Hadlock, is in custody in the Kitsap County jail during the retrial.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 26. 2014 7:11PM
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