Man accused of killing noted Quilcene couple set to face trial in March

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Craddock Verser encouraged both defense and prosecution to be ready for a March trial during a status hearing Friday for Michael J. Pierce, who is charged with the murders of Patrick and Janice Yarr.

Pierce, 34, of Quilcene — who attended the hearing flanked by sergeants, detectives and deputies of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office — said nothing as he stood before the court.

He was quickly shuffled out of the courtroom to the Jefferson County jail, where is being held without option of bail until his trial, after a brief status update on his case.

March 2009 arrest

Pierce, who was arrested March 23, is accused of killing the Quilcene couple and setting their house ablaze to hide the deaths.

In addition to two counts of murder and arson, he is charged with robbery, burglary, theft of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and theft.

His next scheduled court appearance is Jan. 15 for a status update.

The trial is scheduled to begin March 8.

Verser, noting that it would be almost a year between the murders and the trial, encouraged the prosecution and defense to tie up any loose ends as quickly as possible and be prepared for the March trial.

‘Eager to get on’

“I’m sure Mr. Pierce is eager to get on with this as well,” Verser said.

Pierce is charged with killing the Yarrs at their Boulton Farm Road home on March 18, 2009.

Patrick Yarr, 60, and Janice Yarr, 57, were found dead in their home the next day.

Investigators said the Yarrs had not died from the fire, and that the blaze was intentionally set.

The Yarrs were described as “icons” in the timber industry during a memorial service at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in April, which drew more than 700 people from across the North Olympic Peninsula.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Juelie Dalzell has said that the prosecution will not seek the death penalty. Pierce faces life in prison if he is convicted.

________

Reporter Erik Hidle can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at erik.hidle@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Health advisory issued for Marrowstone Island beach

Jefferson County Public Health has issued a health advisory regarding… Continue reading

Malolo becomes the first Canadian R2AK winner

Custom trimaran sails into Ketchikan, Alaska

Possible warehouse on hold pending wetland permit

Amazon spokesperson confirms retailer’s involvement in project

Fire district to add water tender in Saturday ceremony

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to bless apparatus

Mystery Bay closed to shellfish harvesting

The state Department of Health has closed Mystery Bay… Continue reading

Three people were transported to hospitals for injuries on Monday after a collision on U.S. Highway 101 that involved two SUVs and a semi-truck. (Clallam County Fire District 3)
Three transported to hospitals after wreck east of Sequim

Three people were transported for non-life-threatening injuries after a collision… Continue reading

Victoria-based Team Malolo was poised to win the 2024 Race to Alaska on Monday. At midday, the team was 20 miles out from the finish line in Ketchikan, Alaska, while the second-place team was still about 70 miles behind. (Taylor Bayly/Northwest Maritime)
Team Malolo poised to win Race to Alaska

Trimaran had 70-mile lead over competitors

Peninsula College trustees approve budget, bargaining agreement

Full-time enrollment up 30 percent this spring over last year

Jefferson County adopts summer fire regulations

New rules automatically raise fire danger July through September

Port Townsend wins community sustainability award

PORT TOWNSEND – The city of Port Townsend won the 2024 award… Continue reading

Entities partner to provide Port Townsend visitor information

Port Townsend’s marketing workgroup and its lodging tax advisory… Continue reading

Print edition available today, e-edition only this Wednesday

Peninsula Daily News has a print edition available to… Continue reading