Murder case statements suppressed

Judge says request for attorney not honored

Ryan Warren Ward

Ryan Warren Ward

PORT ANGELES — Statements that Ryan Warren Ward made to law enforcement officers after he asked for a lawyer last January will not be admissible at his triple-murder trial, a Clallam County judge has ruled.

Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson ruled Monday that Ward made an “unequivocal request for an attorney” prior to his 18-minute interview with Clallam County Sheriff’s Detective Jeff Waterhouse and Detective Sgt. Eric Munger on Jan. 31 last year.

Defense attorney Lane Wolfley said Friday that Erickson’s ruling was “correct” and “reflects what the constitutional law is on this particular issue.”

“It comes as no surprise,” Wolfley said in a telephone interview.

“Everybody will go forward with the case on the basis of the judge’s ruling.”

Erickson also ruled that prior interviews that the Sheriff’s Office conducted with Ward last Jan. 23, 24, 25, and 27 are admissible at trial. Ward’s trial is scheduled for Feb. 3.

“The court concludes that on Jan. 31, 2019, the defendant made an unequivocal request for an attorney, but that request was not scrupulously honored as required,” Erickson said in her written ruling, “therefore the defendant’s statements made to law enforcement on Jan. 31, 2019 are not admissible at trial.”

Ward, 38, is one of three people charged in connection with a Dec. 26, 2018, triple homicide east of Port Angeles.

He is charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated murder with firearms enhancements and one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Wolfley filed a motion last October to suppress the Jan. 31 interrogation, saying it occurred after Ward had asked for a lawyer.

A video recording of the Jan. 31 interrogation was played in open court during a state Rule 3.5 evidentiary hearing Dec. 17.

Ward could be heard on the video saying: “I’m being charged right now, so I’d like a lawyer.”

Munger interrupts Ward in the video, seeking clarification on whether Ward wanted an attorney.

“If I’m being charged,” Ward said in the video.

Ward was charged Jan. 28 in the shooting deaths of Darrel Iverson, 57, Jordan Iverson, 27, and Tiffany May, 26.

Also charged are Dennis Marvin Bauer, 51, and Kallie Ann Letellier, 35.

In a Friday interview, Munger said Ward’s fifth interrogation was a “unique situation.”

“It was one of those ones that could have gone either way,” Munger said of the court ruling.

“It was little bit unique because (Ward) and I were talking at the same time, and I didn’t hear how he made his attorney request.”

Ward had agreed to speak with deputies later in the interview, according to a transcript.

“No lawyer?” Munger asked Ward.

“At this point,” Ward said before signing an advice of rights and waiver of rights form.

Ward terminated the interview 18 minutes later.

At the Dec. 17 hearing, prosecutors argued that Ward had indicated that he wanted an attorney “if” he was being charged.

“As noted in State v. Pierce, that argument may have been persuasive if the defendant had not already been charged,” Erickson said in her ruling.

“As indicated, at the time of the Jan. 31, 2019 interview, the defendant had already been charged, and in fact, the reality that he had been charged was discussed at the beginning of the Jan. 31, 2019 interview.”


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

More in Crime

Port Angeles man accused of stabbing woman has competency exam

A Port Angeles man who allegedly cut a woman’s… Continue reading

Attempted murder charged in stabbing

Injured Port Angeles woman, 81, in critical condition

Port Angeles man accused of stabbing elderly woman in neck

Woman, 81, flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle

Port Angeles man shot in legs identified

Authorities have identified the man who was shot in the… Continue reading

John Russell Gray
Former corrections officer pleads guilty to sex charges

John Russell Gray accused of assaulting four female inmates

Multi-million-dollar illegal pot grow operation seized

OPNET: Six addresses had over 3,100 plants, about 370 pounds of processed marijuana

Port Angeles man arrested in string of crime

Investigation on more than a dozen burglaries

High-speed spin ends with crash into building, charges

Sequim teen charged with reckless endangerment, hit-and-run

Port Angeles officer hurt during arrest

Sequim man charged with assault following domestic complaint

Essential oils, farm equipment taken from Martha Lane Lavender

Fund looks to support family through loss

Kim Nails was one of three “smash and grab” burglaries in Sequim on Nov. 16-17. Sequim Police said they continue to investigate and believe the cases could be related. Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group