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.

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Reporter Erik Hidle can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]

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