PORT ANGELES — A Clallam County jury has heard testimony about weapons and drugs connected to Dennis Marvin Bauer’s triple-murder case, some of which was excluded from evidence.
State Patrol Detective Michael Grall said early Wednesday that he found 14 spent shell casings at Bauer’s residence and numerous bullet holes on the side of a barn where Bauer and his co-defendants allegedly conducted target practice before the murders in December 2018.
Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson upheld an objection from defense attorney Karen Unger and directed the jury to disregard the testimony.
“I don’t see the relevance,” Erickson said.
“I think it’s a leap of faith that Mr. Bauer was practicing at that particular place.”
Later Wednesday, Clallam County Sheriff’s Detective Jeff Waterhouse displayed for a jury two bolt-action rifles that Bauer’s alleged accomplice, convicted triple-murderer Ryan Warren Ward, sold after the killings.
Bauer, 53, is on trial for the shooting deaths of Darrell Iverson, 57, Jordan Iverson, 27, and Tiffany May, 26.
He is charged in Clallam County Superior Court with three counts of first-degree aggravated murder, eight counts of illegally possessing firearms and six counts of possessing stolen weapons.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Bauer, Ward, 40, and Kallie Ann LeTellier, 37, shot the victims at Darrell Iverson’s home at 52 Bear Meadow Road in the early morning hours of Dec. 26, 2018, and stole numerous guns and other property belonging to the Iversons.
Grall, who was assigned to the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team (OPNET) at the time of the murders, identified bullet holes found in the side of the barn at Bauer’s ranch where Ward, LeTellier and others lived in RVs.
Grall displayed pieces of the barn’s wood siding and a window frame marked with apparent bullet holes.
Unger objected to the relevance of the testimony.
Jesse Espinoza, Clallam County deputy prosecuting attorney, said the bullet holes and casings showed the defendants had been honing their shooting skills.
“The state is asking the court to make a big leap here,” Unger said.
“First of all, a child could shoot a gun and kill somebody, and I would imagine that a child doesn’t have a lot of training using a weapon.”
LeTellier “certainly wasn’t portrayed as a marksman” in previous testimony, Unger said.
“Mr. Bauer is not the first person to live on this property,” Unger added.
“We don’t know who’s responsible for those bullet holes.”
Unger also objected when Espinoza questioned Grall about the mechanics of drug transactions and OPNET’s use of confidential informants.
Sheriff’s investigators have said the murders were motivated by drug sales.
LeTellier also testified that she was raped by the Iversons.
“We’re talking about the murder of three people, supposedly, because of a rape,” Unger said.
“I’m not sure why the victims are being portrayed as these big drug kingpins.”
LeTellier had testified that Bauer and Ward were “upset” about a lost safe that contained a bag of methamphetamine, Espinoza said.
“They ran out of options,” Espinoza said.
“It can explain motive and intent.”
Erickson upheld the objection, saying additional testimony about drug sales would be “irrelevant.”
“I think it’s probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect,” Erickson said.
Prosecutors displayed for the jury a photograph of Waterhouse holding a bag of suspected methamphetamine that was found inside a safe taken from the master bedroom of Darrell Iverson’s residence.
Waterhouse estimated the bag contained 1.5 to 2 ounces of methamphetamine.
“This is not personal-use methamphetamine,” Waterhouse said.
“This is distribution level. If you tried to use (all of) that, it’s going to be a death investigation.”
Ward was sentenced in November 2020 to life in prison with no possibility of parole after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree aggravated murder and 16 weapons violations.
LeTellier pleaded guilty in November 2020 to second-degree murder for May’s death and agreed to testify against Bauer.
She is serving a 35-year prison sentence.
Unger made a motion for a mistrial Wednesday when Waterhouse said another witness had used a false name when she was pulled over in Poulsbo as a passenger in a white Ford Explorer that Darrell Iverson had sold.
Erickson denied the motion for a mistrial — one of several that Unger has made in recent weeks — and struck from the record Waterhouse’s comment about the witness using a false name.
“I don’t think it was especially prejudicial to Mr. Bauer,” Erickson said.
Rob Ollikainen is a freelance reporter.