PORT ANGELES — A 2020 trial date has been set for Matthew Timothy Wetherington, a Port Angeles man charged with the deaths of his wife and her three children.
Wetherington, 35, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson for the July 6 deaths of Valerie Kambeitz, 34, Lilly Kambeitz, 9, Emma Kambeitz, 6, and Jayden Kambeitz, 5.
The bodies were found in the Kambeitz’s burned mobile home at the Welcome Inn RV Park after an early-morning fire that destroyed two trailers and multiple vehicles, Port Angeles police said.
Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brent Basden on Friday scheduled a six-week trial for Wetherington beginning on Oct. 5, 2020.
Wetherington waived his right to a speedy trial on the advice of Defense Attorney John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender.
“I’ve discussed this with Mr. Wetherington, and we would sort of defer to the state’s wishes,” Hayden said of the trial date.
Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin said she expected to be occupied with a triple homicide case in early 2020, referring to the Dec. 26, 2018 Port Angeles-area shooting deaths of Darrel Iverson, 57, Jordan Iverson, 27, and Tiffany May, 26.
Three defendants are charged in that case with three counts of aggravated first-degree murder: Ryan Warren Ward, 37, Kallie Ann Letellier, 35, and Dennis Marvin Bauer, 50.
“I think the soonest that (Wetherington’s case) could potentially roll out to trial is July of 2020, but I would say probably a better date would be October of 2020,” Devlin said.
“That’s fine,” Hayden said.
Basden scheduled Wetherington’s trial and set a status hearing for Nov. 8.
Wetherington is being held in the Clallam County jail on $5 million bail.
Autopsies performed at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the bodies found in the master bedroom of trailer No. 45 were those of the Kambeitz family, Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney/Coroner Mark Nichols had said.
Nichols, who observed the July 11 autopsies in Seattle, has said further forensic tests were needed to determine the cause and manners of the deaths.
Devlin filed amended criminal information Friday naming the four victims. Positive identifications had not been made when the original charges were filed.
Wetherington’s trial was originally scheduled to begin Monday. That trial date was stricken Aug. 23 because more evidence needed to be processed and reviewed, court papers said.
Witnesses reported seeing Wetherington running from the burning trailer after hearing a loud boom at about 2:30 a.m., police said in court papers.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that gasoline and kerosene were present in the trailer where the bodies were found, police have said.
Wetherington, a registered sex offender who married Valerie Kambeitz on May 4, was arrested without incident later July 6 at a Lincoln Park campsite less than a mile from the RV park.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].