PORT ANGELES — A jury of seven women and five men will continue today deciding the fate of accused triple-murderer Dennis Marvin Bauer.
After hearing two days of closing arguments based primarily on challenging the credibility of witnesses, jurors met for about an hour Thursday and will return to their deliberations at 9 a.m. this morning.
During the eight-week trial, those who testified included Bauer himself and convicted murderer Kallie Ann LeTellier, the eyewitness who said Bauer pointed a rifle at her on Dec. 26, 2018, demanding she shoot Tiffany May, 26.
LeTellier, 37, admits she shot May and is serving 35 years for second-degree murder after accepting a plea deal that included her taking the stand.
The bullet-riddled bodies of May, trucking company owner Darrell Iverson, 57, and Iverson’s son Jordan Iverson, 27, were found five days later on the afternoon of New Year’s Day outside Darrell Iverson’s home east of Port Angeles, Iverson’s and his son’s covered with tarps and May’s dragged into a locked shed.
Ryan Warren Ward, 40, serving three consecutive life terms on three counts of aggravated first-degree murder and multiple weapons charges, refused to testify but told a girlfriend, according to her testimony, that he completed the killing of Jordan Iverson, breaking his neck on Bauer’s orders, and that Bauer killed Jordan’s father.
Bauer, 53, faces three life terms as well if convicted on three aggravated first-degree murder counts. He also has pleaded not guilty to several weapons charges.
Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, Bauer’s attorney, Karen Unger of Port Angeles, assailed as not believable the testimony of LeTellier and of Ward’s girlfriend and said Bauer told the same account of being a bystander during the shootings in recorded conversations while in jail and on the witness stand.
Bauer testified he was too scared of Ward to attempt to stop the carnage. Even though he said he had a gun in his hand, he said he does not shoot people. He also said he did not tell authorities about the murders because Ward had threatened him and his family if he did.
Holding up a copy of Ward’s guilty plea to the jury, Unger said Ward was the person who had already pleaded guilty to the murders.
Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson repeatedly struck down objections by Unger regarding connections the prosecution made to Bauer and dealing drugs, primarily methamphetamine, which the murder victims and Ward, LeTellier and Bauer used, according to testimony. Iverson was the alleged financier for the activities.
Unger said accusations about drug dealing, usage and a separate shooting that a former girlfriend testified about had nothing to do with the murder charges.
“He didn’t change his story,” Unger said, pointing to recorded phone conversations from the jail.
LeTellier did change her story, Unger said. She denied shooting May, then told investigators Bauer told her she had to shoot May, then testified Bauer pointed a gun at her and ordered her to shoot May after she, Ward and Bauer went to the Iversons to avenge the sexual assault she said the Iversons committed against her.
According to one witness, LeTellier said the Iversons held her hostage in a shipping container.
LeTellier testified Bauer shot May four times after she shot her twice.
LeTellier said May did nothing while the rapes occurred, Unger said.
“To have to listen to the allegations made against the deceased is extremely difficult, because essentially, arguably for you to believe Kallie LeTellier, you have to believe Jordan and Darrell Iverson were rapists, you have to believe that Tiffany May was an accomplice to rape, you’d have to believe Darrell Iverson was protected by law enforcement from the consequences of his illegal activity.”
“I submit to you that is not reasonable.”
Darrell Iverson’s sister is a retired chief corrections deputy.
In her rebuttal, Devlin said LeTellier explained on the stand why she changed her story.
“She said the survivors, the family, had a right to know what happened to their loved ones,” Devlin said.
She said Bauer’s defense, that he was frightened of Ward, did not make sense, since they are roughly of equal size and that he never told investigators of the threats even after Ward was arrested, not even calling the Sheriff’s Office’s anonymous tip line.
Devlin said ballistics evidence pointed to Bauer’s guilt and scoffed at his explanation that he felt threatened by Ward.
Bauer let Ward live on his rented Lower Elwha Road property, where in his shop he had a large sign saying, “I am God here.”
“There was no threat,” she said. “Don’t let him fool you.”
During his testimony, Bauer made a “Freudian slip,” she said.
She showed the statements to the jury, typed in large letters propped up on an easel.
“What was I supposed to do? I, he just killed three people. Or they just killed three people,” Bauer testified.
Devlin had underlined the “I.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].