Man charged with murder in Yarr deaths in hospital

Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND -- Michael J. Pierce, who is charged with the double homicide of Patrick and Janice Kay Yarr of Quilcene, remained in a hospital on Saturday, Sheriff Tony Hernandez said.

The Quilcene man, who was in custody in the Jefferson County jail, was taken by ambulance from the jail to a hospital on Thursday, Hernandez said.

The sheriff declined to say why Pierce, 34, was hospitalized, or what his condition is, citing privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

"He has HIPAA protection, so I am not at liberty to discuss what his medical emergency was," Hernandez said.

Pierce, who is charged with 11 felonies in connection with the Yarr deaths and the arson of their home in Quilcene, had been in a private cell at the jail, the sheriff said.

"A staff member witnessed the medical emergency, and aid was summoned," Hernandez said.

Pierce is under guard, Hernandez said. He would not say where Pierce was hospitalized "for safety and security reasons."

A nursing supervisor at Jefferson Healthcare hospital in Port Townsend said no one by Pierce's name was listed as undergoing care at the hospital on Saturday. Personnel at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle did not return a telephone call requesting information.

The Yarrs were found dead in their home on March 19, the day after a fire destroyed their home at 780 Boulton Farm Road, off U.S. Highway 101 north of Quilcene.

In addition to two murder charges and a charge of arson, Pierce, who was arrested last Sunday, also is charged with two counts of robbery, one count of burglary, two counts of theft of a firearm, two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and one count of identity theft.

Bail was set at $250,000 bail. His next appearance in Jefferson County Superior Court is scheduled for Friday.

Last modified: April 04. 2009 11:57PM
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