PORT TOWNSEND –– Michael J. Pierce will face a fourth trial for the March 2009 murders of Quilcene farm couple Pat and Janice Yarr.
Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Sally Olsen rejected Friday a motion from Pierce’s public defender, Richard Davies of Port Townsend, to dismiss charges of two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, first-degree arson, theft of a firearm, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and second-degree theft.
Davies had argued that the charges should be dismissed because of “outrageous conduct” by jailors and that it would put Pierce in double jeopardy.
“No actions undertaken by the government here warrant a finding of ‘outrageous conduct’ sufficient to necessitate dismissal,” Olsen wrote in her decision filed at 1:04 p.m.
Pierce’s trial is slated to begin Oct. 6 in Kitsap County.
A Jefferson County jury convicted Pierce on the charges in 2010.
He was serving a life sentence in prison when the state Court of Appeals overturned the conviction in 2012.
Pierce has been tried two times since, once in Jefferson County and once in Kitsap County, with both ending in mistrials.
Davies’ dismissal request was considered over five partial days of testimony in which psychiatric experts testified to the levels of Pierce’s psychopathy, a disorder that produces voices that sound like a “radio playing in the back of his head.”
Davies argued that those symptoms worsened after Kitsap County jailors stopped administering pyschotropic medications when a 14-day “bridge” prescription expired during the middle of his second retrial.
The Kisap County mistrial was called by Olsen after it was discovered Pierce had been off his medications.
Pierce’s original conviction was overturned by the state Court of Appeals on the grounds that his constitutional rights were denied after his arrest and that Prosecuting Attorney Scott Rosekrans’ closing argument in the original trial represented prosecutorial misconduct.
After an investigation, the Washington State Bar Association later cleared Rosekrans of ethical violations for speculating during closing arguments what the Yarrs and Pierce were thinking during the night of the murders.
________Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.