PORT ANGELES — Dennis Marvin Bauer’s lawyer vowed Tuesday to appeal his 16 guilty verdicts, while the jury’s decision to convict him on three murder counts sunk in for the mother of one of his victims.
“It’s been kind of like a burden,” said Mount Vernon resident Angela May, whose daughter Tiffany May was gunned down on Dec. 26, 2018.
“I feel freer now that this is done,” May said less than 24 hours later.
May attended every day of the trial — two months of testimony followed by just 2½ days of deliberations culminating with a verdict mid-day Monday.
The trial took 29 days, including jury selection, with jurors off on Fridays except when deliberating and Christmas week off.
The seven-woman, five-man jury, with access to more than 900 items entered into evidence and guided by 58 pages of jury instructions, had one question for Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson over fewer than two days of deliberations.
Shortly before noon Monday, before announcing their decision, they asked Erickson how to mark their verdicts on the jury form, according to court records.
Port Angeles lawyer Karen Unger, who represented Bauer, said there is no doubt she will file a notice of appeal after Bauer, 53, is sentenced Feb. 22.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” she said.
“There will definitely be an appeal.”
Unger declined to discuss the jury’s verdict or comment on what might form the basis of the challenge, which Unger said she will not be arguing before the state Court of Appeals.
May, a Mount Vernon resident, said she suspects the challenge will be based on the testimony of Kallie Ann LeTellier, the prosecution’s only eyewitness, other than Bauer, to testify.
LeTellier, 37, who said she saw Bauer shoot May and that he threatened her with a gun to shoot 26-year-old woman, is serving 35 years for May’s murder as part of a plea bargain in exchange for her testimony.
A third accomplice, Ryan Warren Ward, 40, is serving three mandatory consecutive life sentences in connection with the same murders.
The same fate awaits Bauer — pending an appeal — for killing May, her boyfriend Jordan Iverson, 27, and Jordan’s father, trucking company owner Darrell Iverson, 57. He was found guilty of 13 weapons charges.
Cost of trial
County officials were assessing the monetary cost of the trial and the three years leading up to it Tuesday but offered some preliminary assessments.
The price tag for investigating and prosecuting the case over the last three years will exceed the $350,000 spent by the Sheriff’s Office alone, primarily in overtime, they said.
Unger, the court-appointed lawyer assigned to Bauer Jan. 25, 2019, a day after his arrest, said Tuesday she does not know how much she has billed the county.
Sheriff Bill Benedict said $300,000 of the $350,000 in extra costs incurred by his deputies and detectives was covered by an emergency appropriation. The remaining $50,000 was absorbed by the department’s budget, he said Tuesday.
Not included in that, Benedict said, are day-to-day staff costs, including the more than one year leading up to the verdict that Detective Jeff Waterhouse, whose salary is $110,000, spent full-time on the case — not including his overtime.
Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Espinoza spent about 75 percent of their time for the better part of a year preparing their case, aided to a similar degree primarily by Victim-Witness Coordinator Jillian Munger and Legal Assistant Melanie Reifenstahl.
Nichols, some of whose staff are sick with COVID-19, said he did not have a firm amount he could refer to Tuesday on what the case cost the prosecuting attorney’s office and coroner’s office, which he heads.
Specific trial-rebated costs included those for expert and other witnesses among the more than 80 subpoenaed. Some had to be flown to Washington state or have their gas mileage covered. Costs included forensic and transcription fees.
Nichols said a fund of about $350,000 was set aside in early 2020 after the triple murders to cover extraordinary criminal justice costs, including the Bauer trial and potential Ward and LeTellier trials. About $100,000 is left, Nichols said.
Those funds also covered the quadruple murder case of Matthew Weatherington, who pleaded guilty.
State Patrol Crime Lab personnel spent days at the murder scene outside Darrell Iverson’s 52 Bear Meadow Road residence east of Port Angeles.
“The true cost of the state vs. Bauer goes beyond Clallam County’s cost alone,” Nichols said.
Superior Court Clerk Nikki Botnen said the cost for jurors, who numbered more than 12 until deliberations began, has not been determined. They are paid $10 a day, not including mileage to and from the courthouse.
None of the jurors could be reached for comment Tuesday.
Devlin was unavailable Tuesday for comment.
With assistance from Healthy Families of Clallam County, May said she drove the 120 miles from Mount Vernon to Port Angeles every week for the last two months for the trial, stayed in a hotel, and returned home for 2½ days to work as an assistant manager at a Dollar Store.
Then she’d do it all over again.
Tiffany’s cremains have not been interred, her mother said.
“I have her remains with me,” she said, recalling her daughter with fond memories.
“She could walk into a room, and I’m just telling you, she lit it up. She had a presence. Her smile literally could change so much. She was a light. She was a bright light.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].