PORT ANGELES — A Clallam County jury heard opening statements and early witness testimony Monday in Dennis Marvin Bauer’s triple-murder trial.
Prosecutors said Bauer, 53, planned and executed the murders of acquaintances Tiffany May, Jordan Iverson and Darrell Iverson at Darrell Iverson’s home east of Port Angeles on the morning after Christmas in 2018.
Bauer’s attorney, Karen Unger, said her client was a bystander to the killings that were motivated by revenge for an alleged sexual assault that occurred about two weeks prior.
“This is kind of an unbelievable tale, but it happened,” Unger told the 10-woman, six-man jury panel.
“And at the end of the case, you’re going to find Dennis Bauer not guilty.”
Bauer is charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated murder, eight counts of illegally possessing a firearm and six counts of possessing a stolen firearm.
He is the last of three co-defendants to be adjudicated for the slayings.
Ryan Warren Ward, 39, was sentenced last November to life in prison with no possibility of parole for his role in the murders. He pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree aggravated murder and 16 other counts related to the theft, sale or illegal possession of firearms.
Kallie Ann LeTellier, 36, was sentenced last November to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder with a firearm enhancement for May’s death.
LeTellier, who agreed to testify against her co-defendants, is scheduled to do so today.
The bodies of Darrell “Gar” Iverson, 57, Jordan Iverson, 27, and May, 26, were found outside the Iverson home at 52 Bear Meadow Road on Dec. 31, 2018. Each had been shot multiple times, investigators said.
“There were six people there,” Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Espinoza said during his opening statement Monday.
“Three of them are dead.
“There’s three suspects,” Espinoza added.
“Two have plead guilty. Mr. Bauer remains.”
Justin Peterson and law enforcement personnel testified Monday afternoon.
Peterson said he found one body outside of Iverson’s home after bending down to unplug a power tool that was activating a noisy compressor when he discovered leg and shoe sticking out from underneath a tarp.
Peterson felt “very shocked,” he said. “I didn’t know what I had stumbled across.”
Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Morris said what was believed to be Darrel Iverson was wrapped in the gray tarp. Morris then found a second body outside the house near vehicles on the property.
Both bodies were wrapped in tarps in the driveway, one with a log truck bumper on top of it, the other with a propane tank and various debris, giving the appearance that an attempt was made to conceal the corpses, Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Eric Munger said.
Michael Grall, at the time of the murders a State Patrol narcotics detective assigned to the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team, said he found Tiffany May’s body in a locked white and blue shed on the property.
Grall said he found shell casings in the vicinity of the shed.
Wendy Peterson, Darrell Iverson’s sister and the first to testify Monday morning in Bauer’s six-week trial, said her husband found her brother’s body as he was securing a broken air compressor during a welfare check on New Year’s Eve.
“Suddenly, he stood up, threw his hands up and turned around and was waving at me: ‘Stay back. Stay back. Don’t come over here,’” said Peterson, a retired Clallam County Chief Corrections Deputy.
“Then panic and emotions took over. The reaction that my husband had told me that this was not a good thing, that something bad had happened.”
“Their bodies were found just where the defendant (Bauer) left them,” Espinoza said.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Bauer, LeTellier and Ward ransacked the Iverson residence after the murders, taking guns, tools, jewelry and drugs.
Espinoza described a “toxic soup brewing” at both the Iverson home and Bauer’s ranch on the Lower Elwha Klallam reservation in late 2018.
“This toxic brew included drugs, guns, debt, sex and anything else that could be used as currency to get more drugs,” Espinoza said.
“This toxic brew led to the slaughter of Gar, Jordan and Jordy’s girlfriend.”
Unger objected to hearsay as Espinoza described a seedy drug world involving the defendants and the victims.
Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson allowed Espinoza to continue his statement and reminded the jury that it had not been proven.
Unger encouraged the jurors to “set aside your moral judgments” because all parties had been using drugs.
“Everybody here was on drugs,” Unger said.
“The deceased, the defendants, everybody was addicted to drugs.”
Unger said LeTellier had made statements to law enforcement about being raped by the Iversons on Dec. 10, 2018.
“She will tell you that, as a result of the brutal rape that she described in later statements at the hands of Darrell Iverson and Jordan Iverson with the tacit participation of Tiffany May — this is all according to Kallie, now — that is how it was that these three people were murdered,” Unger said.
“Dennis didn’t go up there with any intention of hurting anybody,” Unger added.
“He did not know that any of this would happen.”