PORT ANGELES — Accused triple murderer Dennis Marvin Bauer’s alleged trafficking in methamphetamine will continue as a factor in his trial, which is nearing its conclusion after five weeks of testimony.
Clallam County Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson ruled Thursday that Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin can keep delving into the 53-year-old Lower Elwha Road resident’s alleged drug involvement and its connection with the Dec. 26, 2018, shooting deaths of Darrell Iverson, Jordan Iverson and Tiffany May.
Bauer faces up to three life terms without parole if found guilty of three counts of aggravated first-degree murder and 16 firearms charges.
That’s what Ryan Warren Ward, 40, is serving after pleading guilty to the same crimes.
Kallie Ann LeTellier, 37, was sentenced to 35 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in May’s death and agreeing to testify. She said the killings at Iverson’s Bear Meadow Road home, followed by the ransacking of numerous weapons and other items from his home, were retribution for Darrell Iverson and his son sexually assaulting her.
Testimony on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday included expert law enforcement testimony connecting rifles with bullets found at the murder scene, including two projectiles extracted from the Iversons’ bodies.
Bauer’s lawyer, Karen Unger of Port Angeles, contends Bauer was a bystander during the shootings.
A girlfriend of Ward’s has testified Ward told her Bauer killed Iverson. LeTellier, the only eyewitness to testify, said Bauer killed May.
Proceedings last week ended with testimony by Darrell Iverson’s son, Dustin, an Army veteran of the Iraq War accompanied by his pack-wearing service dog, Mr. Ryker, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois.
Iverson has identified two semi-automatic pistols and a revolver found in Bauer’s bedroom as stolen from 52 Bear Meadow Road, according to Bauer’s supplemental probable cause statement.
On Thursday Iverson identified numerous items from his father’s home that were found at what’s been referred to as Bauer’s compound on Lower Elwha Road. His testimony is expected to continue when the trial resumes at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Iverson said his parents purchased the Bear Meadow Road residence about 2011 before he left for the military.
He returned around 2015 with his wife and five children, moving out of the home because of his father’s and brother’s drug usage, last seeing them on Father’s Day, 2016, before returning in January 2019, he said.
Iverson recalled his father’s nicknames, Dar and Dude. Jordan’s were Jordy and Trashman.
Jordan and Tiffany were best friends and soul mates, Iverson said.
“They were inseparable. They constantly said it. They were always together. It was pretty obvious to anyone who saw them.”
Iverson said he was familiar with the contents of the house and outbuildings on his father’s 4.84-acre parcel, which his father had designated him to oversee.
He said the property “was unbelievably destroyed” when he returned immediately after the murders.
“There were trailers I didn’t recognize all over on the outside. As soon as I walked inside, the house had been ransacked multiple times. Storage sheds, where there used to be tools, had been completely cleaned out.”
He said he’s taken 70,000 pounds of garbage from the property.
Iverson identified photos of personal items from 52 Bear Meadow Road found inside Bauer’s residence, about 15 miles away.
They included raincoats, a sword, paint guns, welding clamps, two grab-and-go bags, axes, grow lights, a BB gun, a machete, a pistol, a knife with a wolf depicted on the blade, a curved knife, a military-grade compass, a safe with thousands of dollars of coins, “all sorts of stuff,” he said.
As Iverson walked to a projection screen, Mr. Ryker started to follow him, prompting soft laughter, then sitting in the witness stand while Iverson pointed out items to the jury several feet away.
“He wanted to make sure he could keep an eye on me,” Iverson said Saturday. “Any time I get nervous or anxious, he’s supposed to let me know, and he definitely did that a couple times in the courtroom.”
There are no trial proceedings on Fridays.
When the nine-woman, six man jury, including three alternates, were sent out of the courtroom, Unger said: “Doing drugs and making this into a drug murder is a huge leap, and that’s what the state has been trying to do this whole trial, and there’s no evidence to suggest in any way from anybody that’s testified that these killings were related to drugs.
“The only testimony, and I’m going to reiterate it again, I’m going to say it again, is that it was related to the assault against, alleged assault against, Kallie LeTellier,” Unger said.
“Just because you keep repeating it doesn’t make it so. and the state’s just focusing on $1,000 worth of meth is the reason why these people were killed. For a thousand dollars?
“”There’s just nothing there.”
Erickson said Unger can argue the credibility of the prosecution’s case to the jury.
“But I think the state has the ability to present that evidence,” Erickson said.
The ruling came at the outset of testimony by Brooke Hagen, who repeatedly said she did not remember her assertions about Bauer’s alleged drug activities to authorities, including that Bauer sold large amounts of methamphetamine.
Hagen was arrested on a non-criminal material-witness warrant to testify for the prosecution.
“The deceased Darrell Iverson was the financier for a drug trafficking network that included Dennis Bauer,” Devlin said in the warrant affidavit.
“Ms. Hagen was present for several of the transactions between the supplier of the methamphetamine and Dennis Bauer,” she said.
“Ms. Hagen’s subpoena was for the entirety of the trial. This trial began November 8, 2021 and she has failed to appear on any of those days.”
Unger and Devlin said they expected to have their proposed jury instructions ready by Monday.
Devlin and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Espinoza may close their case Monday or Tuesday.
Erickson told Unger to have her witness ready as soon as the prosecution is done.
Unger said she was uncomfortable conducting closing arguments Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday and then having the jury deliberate before leaving at least for Friday through Sunday.
The lawyers and Erickson have discussed not having court proceedings the week of Dec. 27.
“I think we’ll just have them coming back on the third [of January] and hopefully we’re done, and after the third to do jury instructions and closings,” Erickson said.
Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols echoed that prediction in a Friday afternoon email.
“It is still anticipated that the case will likely go to the jury sometime during the first week of January,” he said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]