Matthew Timothy Wetherington, left, confers with public defender John Hayden on a video link to the courtroom during Wetherington’s arraignment in Clallam County Superior Court in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Matthew Timothy Wetherington, left, confers with public defender John Hayden on a video link to the courtroom during Wetherington’s arraignment in Clallam County Superior Court in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Court delays trial of man accused in four Port Angeles deaths

PORT ANGELES — Alleged quadruple murderer Matthew Timothy Wetherington’s September trial date has been stricken because more evidence is pending.

Wetherington, 35, is charged with the grisly murders of his wife and her three children at the Welcome Inn RV Park in Port Angeles on July 6. He appeared in court on Friday.

City police alleged that Wetherington killed Valerie Kambeitz, 34, Lilly Kambeitz, 9, Emma Kambeitz, 6, and Jayden Kambeitz, 5, and set fire to their residence in the early morning hours and fled the scene.

Defense attorney Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender said Friday that more discovery needed to be reviewed, according to the minutes of a status hearing.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brent Basden struck the Sept. 9 trial date and scheduled another status hearing for Sept. 6.

Wetherington has pleaded not guilty to four counts of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.

Witnesses reported seeing Wetherington running from the burning trailer after hearing a loud boom, police said in court papers.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that gasoline and kerosene were present in the trailer where the bodies were found, police have said.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed that the bodies found in the master bedroom of trailer No. 45 were those of the Kambeitz family, Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney/Coroner Mark Nichols said Friday.

“We have received DNA confirmation,” Nichols said in a telephone interview.

“So we do know that the bodies recovered from the trailer belonged to Valerie, Lilly, Emma and Jayden Kambeitz.”

Nichols, who observed the July 11 autopsies in Seattle, said further testing is needed to determine the cause and manners of the deaths.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has maintained a hold on the bodies.

Nichols is working with King County’s chief medical examiner on the case.

Wetherington and Valerie Kambeitz were married May 4. Investigators believe he lived in the trailer where the bodies were found.

Wetherington was arrested without incident later July 6 at a Lincoln Park campsite less than a mile from the RV park.

“I don’t understand how I could do something like this,” Wetherington was alleged to have said after his arrest.

“I deserve to be locked up.”

Wetherington is a registered sex offender who had an extensive criminal background, Clallam County prosecutors have said.

More than 100 mourners gathered at a vigil for the Kambeitz family July 8.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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