PORT ANGELES — Accused triple murderer Dennis Marvin Bauer took the witness stand in his own defense Wednesday morning, contradicting an eyewitness account of the Dec. 26, 2018, shootings and saying he did not report the slayings because he feared for his safety.
Bauer, 53, is charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated murder for the shooting deaths of Darrell Iverson, 57, his son Jordan Iverson, 27, and Tiffany May, 26, and a host of weapons violations for an alleged robbery.
During 80 minutes of sometimes tearful testimony as the five-week trial draws to a close, the commercial floor cleaner said under questioning from his attorney, Karen Unger of Port Angeles, that he let his son, Jared Bauer, work for him the night of the murders and for weeks before that after his son lost his job.
Bauer said it was only while he was driving away from the carnage at 52 Bear Meadow Road east of Port Angeles with Ryan Ward and Kallie Ann LeTellier, who have since pleaded guilty in connection with the murders, that LeTellier said for the first time to him that she had been raped by the Iversons.
LeTellier has testified Ward and Bauer planned the murders as retribution for the sexual assault and that Bauer had pointed a gun at her and ordered her to shoot Tiffany May, 26.
LeTellier has pleaded guilty to shooting May and is serving 35 years in prison.
Ward, serving three consecutive life sentences for first-degree aggravated murder after pleading guilty, has refused to testify in Bauer’s trial.
Bauer — who said he had done methamphetamine with trucking company owner Darrell Iverson, Jordan Iverson and May during about a half-dozen visits to Darrell Iverson’s home on Bear Meadow Road — testified that he drove to the parcel at about midnight Christmas Day, 2018, rather than loan Ward and LeTellier his car to go there.
He said he had no foreknowledge of what happened next.
While standing inside the house, Bauer said he heard Darrell Iverson and Ward arguing, then heard two series of popping sounds. He said he headed for the back door.
“And I stepped out the back door and Darrell was kind of pinwheeling his arms, struggling backwards. It looked like he was tripping over something,” Bauer said.
“I started to try to hurry to get next to him so that I could give him some aid and I heard Tiffany screaming in the house at the same time. By the time I had got to where Darrell was, he had collapsed; he just dropped.
“I looked up, and Ryan was standing there. He was holding a rifle. It wasn’t actually pointing at me. It was in my general direction. I froze. I just held my hands up, and I could hear Tiffany screaming in the back.”
He said Ward told him to “take this,” swinging the gun by the barrel toward him. Bauer said he grabbed the weapon and later tossed it away.
May came screaming out of the house, and Ward said, “shut that [expletive] up,” Bauer said.
Bauer said shots rang out immediately, and he saw LeTellier following behind May, shooting her.
“I was wondering really if I was going to get out of there, if I was going to make it out of there alive,” he said.
“Because they killed these people for no [expletive] reason.
“These were people who were supposed to be their friends.”
He said Ward went through Iverson’s pockets, with Darrell still alive and calling for his son.
Bauer said Ward hit Darrell Iverson in the head with the butt of a faulty rifle, got another weapon, and shot both Iversons in the head.
Bauer said he helped Ward drag May’s body to a nearby shed.
“What was I supposed to do?” he said.
“I wasn’t going to tell them no.”
He did whatever Ward told him to do the rest of the night “because I wanted to get home,” Bauer said.
Unger was scheduled to continue her questioning Wednesday afternoon, followed by cross examination.
Michele Devlin, Clallam County chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, began her cross examination Wednesday afternoon.
Testimony in the Superior Court trial is expected to end this week, with jury deliberations expected to begin the week of Jan. 3.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].