PORT ANGELES — Ryan Warren Ward has been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for a triple homicide east of Port Angeles.
He was the second defendant to be sentenced this week for the December 2018 murders of Tiffany May, Jordan Iverson and Darrell Iverson at a residence on Bear Meadow Road.
Ward, 39, gave no statement in a somber sentencing hearing that featured photographs of the victims and remarks from six family members.
“You didn’t even give us the opportunity to say goodbye,” said Noreen Iverson, Jordan Iverson’s mother, facing Ward.
“How could you do such a cowardly thing?”
Dustin Iverson, Jordan’s brother and Darrell Iverson’s son, said Ward should have received the same sentence as the victims.
“You killed a little piece of a lot of people,” said Angela May, Tiffany May’s mother.
Ward pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of first-degree aggravated murder and 16 other counts related to the theft, sale or illegal possession of firearms.
Darrell Iverson, 57, Jordan Iverson, 27, and Tiffany May, 26, were each shot multiple times outside Darrell Iverson’s rural home at 52 Bear Mountain Road in the early morning hours of Dec. 26, 2018, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said.
The bodies of the Iversons were found on New Year’s Eve by a relative who had not heard from them since Christmas.
The body of May, who was Jordan Iverson’s girlfriend, was found later that day in a folded position in a locked shed.
Kallie Ann LeTellier, 36, Dennis Marvin Bauer, 52, and Ward were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the killings.
LeTellier was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder with a firearm enhancement for May’s death and agreeing to testify against her co-defendants.
Bauer is scheduled for a six- to eight-week trial on the triple murder beginning Jan. 4. He is being held in the Clallam County jail on $3.5 million bail.
Michele Devlin, county chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, provided a narrative of the murders based on a multi-jurisdictional investigation led by the Sheriff’s Office.
“He decided to plead guilty because we have the murder weapon that he used to put the final two shots in Jordan and Darrell’s head,” Devlin said while displaying a photograph of a Mossberg .22-magnum bolt action rifle.
“It was confirmed by ballistics that the fragments that were removed at autopsy were shots from that firearm.”
Devlin said Bauer and LeTellier had concocted a plan to rob and kill the Iversons, with whom they were acquainted.
Ward backed out of the plan at the last minute, promoting Bauer to instruct LeTellier to “take care” of May, Devlin said.
Bauer began shooting at Darrell Iverson while LeTellier gunned down a fleeing May, investigators said.
“Now this is where the defendant opts back into the plan,” Devlin said.
Devlin displayed an aerial photograph of the property to explain that gunshots that Bauer and LeTellier each heard must have come from Ward as he killed the wounded Iversons.
“The only person over there was the defendant,” Devlin said. “Different bullets were used. They were .22 magnum.”
Bauer, LeTellier and Ward ransacked the Iverson residence after the murders, sheriff’s detectives said.
“They took firearms, they took guns, they took tools, they took jewelry, they took drugs, they took whatever they could, and they ransacked it,” Devlin said.
“This was a plan. This was a plan to murder and rob three people.”
Clallam County Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson sentenced Ward to life in prison with no possibility of release. Erickson denied Ward’s request to embrace his family at the end of the 2½-hour hearing.
A life sentence was mandatory under state law for the aggravated murder convictions, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Espinoza said.
Defense attorney Lane Wolfley did not object to Espinoza’s sentencing recommendation.
Wolfley, a longtime Port Angeles attorney, said he could not recall a case that had solicited as much sadness and emotion as the triple murder.
“Mr. Ward has asked me to express his deep regret and sorrow for the loss of Tiffany May,” Wolfley said.
“Everyone understands that Mr. Ward was part of the planning of the deaths of Jordan and Darrell Iverson. There was never any discussion or intention that Tiffany May would be the victim.”
Wolfley said his client refused to participate in the plan because of May’s presence.
“The rage and indignation on the part of other people — I’ll just say it, Dennis Bauer and Kallie LeTellier — still spilled over, and they were shot without the participation of Mr. Ward,” Wolfley said.
“Nevertheless, he’s accepting responsibility for this,” Wolfley added.
“If he had had his wishes carried out at that time, Tiffany May would be alive today.”
Ward sat quietly with Wolfley in the jury box. The courtroom had been reconfigured for COVID-19 precautions. All 38 spectators wore masks.
Those who provided victim impact statements were allowed to remove their mask to address Ward.
Dozens more viewed the hearing from a video feed in an overflow room, which had also been reconfigured to provide physical distancing. Others listened to the hearing on a conference call.
Ward entered guilty pleas to each of the 19 counts. He was charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated murder, six counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, four counts of theft of a firearm, three counts of possession of a stolen firearm and single counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property, unlawful possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle and theft of firearm parts.
“You chose to murder three people,” Wendy Peterson, Darrell Iverson’s sister and Jordan Iverson’s aunt, told Ward.
“You may have taken them away from us, but you cannot take away our beautiful memories or tarnish their character.
“They were good people with a giving heart and nature,” Peterson added, “and they will always be remembered by their friends and family that way.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].