Co-Defendants David “Joey” Pedersen and Holly Grigsby
A woman who took part in a Pacific Northwest killing rampage, including the deaths of an Everett couple, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole.
July 15, 2014
PORTLAND — A woman who took part in a Pacific Northwest killing rampage fueled by white-supremacist beliefs apologized for her actions, but not her views.
Holly Grigsby, 27, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with no chance for release.
She apologized in federal court to friends and relatives of the victims. Grigsby said she realized any explanation for her actions, such as her drug addiction, would come across as an excuse, “or make it feel like I’m rationalizing my own insane behavior.”
But Grigsby expressed no regret for white-supremacist beliefs, only the effect her crimes would have on their public perception.
“My actions have further damaged the reputation of a movement misunderstood,” she said. “I deeply regret this.”
Grigsby and her boyfriend — David “Joey” Pedersen — were arrested in 2011 after the deaths of four people: Pedersen’s father and stepmother in Everett, an Oregon teenager and a California man.
Grigsby pleaded guilty in March to racketeering charges connected to the four killings, and the plea agreement called for a life sentence with no chance for release.
Joey Pedersen has pleaded guilty to two counts of carjacking resulting in death — one for the death of teenager Cody Myers on the Oregon coast and the other for the killing of Reginald Clark in Eureka, Calif. He will be sentenced to life in prison at an Aug. 4 hearing in federal court.
He previously pleaded guilty in Washington state court to murder in the slayings of David “Red” Pedersen and Leslie “Dee Dee” Pedersen and was sentenced to life in prison.
Dee Dee Pedersen’s daughter, Lori Nemitz, told Grigsby in court that the murders were heinous and “beyond cruel,” and made no sense since Grigsby had been welcomed into the home as family.
“I hugged you, for God’s sake,” Nemitz said.
Pedersen is the founder of a white-supremacist prison gang, and he told Grigsby about his desire to start a revolution with a killing rampage targeting Jewish leaders.
It started on Sept. 26, 2011, when Pedersen shot his father in the back of the head while the elder Pedersen was driving, authorities said. Red Pedersen moved and moaned for at least 30 minutes before dying, prosecutors said.
Pedersen and Grigsby returned to the house. Dee Dee Pedersen was bound with duct tape, cut in the neck and left to bleed to death.
“Animals are treated more humanely going to slaughter than your victims were,” said Holly Perez, the daughter of Red Pedersen and sister of Joey Pedersen.
The couple then drove Red Pedersen’s vehicle south into Oregon, where they shot and killed 19-year-old Myers and stole his car, authorities said. They shot Myers, who was Christian, because his name sounded Jewish, according to court documents.
Pedersen and Grigsby then headed to Northern California, where Clark, a 53-year-old black man, was shot to death.
Grigsby and Pedersen were arrested Oct. 5, 2011, outside Yuba City, Calif., when a police officer spotted them in Myers’ car. Grigsby told officers they were on their way to Sacramento to “kill more Jews,’” court documents said.
Prosecutors said Grigsby has been a white supremacist since her early teens and did not fall under Pedersen’s spell.
Store credit ****Steven Dubois – The Associated Press*****
Holly Grigsby apologizes to victims’ families, white supremacist movement; gets life sentence
Turning to face the grieving family members of those she helped kill, Holly Ann Grigsby said she wasn’t going to blame abuse, drugs or a tough childhood to explain the murderous path she cut with David “Joey” Pedersen across three states in fall 2011.
Instead, “the desperation in my heart” as she relapsed back into drug addiction fueled her actions that have hurt not only the victims and their families, but her own husband and son and even the white-supremacist movement whose beliefs she continues to embrace, she said.
“My actions have further damaged the reputation of a movement misunderstood,” she said. “I deeply regret this. Although I had nothing but the best of intentions, the bridge to Valhalla is not paved with good intentions” but with one’s actions and heart, she said.
Grigsby words came just before Senior U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty sentenced the 27-year-old Portland woman to spend the rest of her life in prison. Grigsby had pleaded guilty in March to one count of racketeering in connection with the murders and related offenses.
A sentencing memorandum filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jane Shoemaker and Hannah Horsley laid out the government’s timeline of the killings of Pedersen’s father, David “Red” Pedersen; his stepmother, Leslie “Dee Dee” Pedersen; and two strangers, Cody Myers, 19, of Lafayette and Reginald Alan Clark, 53, of Eureka, Calif.
Grigsby and Pedersen had embarked on a campaign to wage a white-supremacist “revolution” in September 2011 planning to target Jewish organizations. They traveled to Washington state, where they spent several days with Pedersen’s father and stepmother before Joey Pedersen fatally shot his father while Red Pedersen drove Grigsby and his son around.
They took his car, weapons and credit cards. They returned to the house and used two knives to slash the throat of Dee Dee Pedersen before fleeing to Oregon. There, after getting assistance from friends Corey Wyatt and Kimberly Scott Wyatt, they carjacked and killed Myers, who had agreed to give Grigsby a ride as he was returning from the Newport Jazz Festival.
They continued to California, where they carjacked Clark, who similarly had agreed to give the couple a ride. The couple, who was headed to Sacramento to target Jewish organizations there, was arrested on Oct. 5, 2011, when a California Highway Patrol officer recognized the suspects and the vehicle description that police agencies had publicized.
The sentencing hearing Tuesday morning allowed the Pedersen family to unleash their pain on Grigsby, the first of the two admitted killers to be sentenced. Family members for Myers and Clark did not make a statement.
“How dare you go into my mother’s home where she welcomed you as family,” said Lori Nemitz, Dee Dee’s daughter, recalling the days before the slayings when Grigsby had stayed with and met members of the Pedersen family.
“I hugged you, for God’s sake,” Nemitz said, who called the torturous slaying of her mother with the dull knives “beyond heinous, beyond cruel.”
“I cannot imagine a person that would do that to an innocent woman who welcomes you as family,” she said.
Catherine Hix, a spokeswoman for another daughter, told Grigsby that she was “a wicked, heartless viper. You slithered into town with only one thing in mind – murder.”
And Holly Perez, the sister of Joey Pedersen, sobbed as she recounted the misery that all four victims must have felt in their final minutes.
“Separately, you and Joey are nothing but two cowards with a skewed ideology,” she said. And the impact extends to Grigsby’s own family, Perez noted, saying the murderer will never be able to hold her own young son in her arms ever again.
Grigsby nodded her head.
Haggerty handed down the sentence with little commentary. Because federal prison has no parole program, Grigsby will remain behind bars until she dies.
Corey Wyatt was sentenced last week for providing Pedersen, a felon, with the weapon he used to kill three of the four victims. Wyatt’s wife, Kimberly Scott Wyatt, is to be sentenced at the end of the month.
Pedersen, who pleaded guilty in April to two counts of carjacking resulting in death, is to be sentenced on Aug. 4.
Story Credit ***Helen Jung – Oregonian.com****