Suspects in crime spree allegedly wanted to 'purify' and 'preserve' white race

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A young couple accused of killing four people in a multistate crime spree last fall have been indicted of federal racketeering charges alleging the rampage was part of a campaign to “purify” and “preserve” the white race, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, said Friday.

A federal grand jury handed up the indictment Thursday against David “Joey” Pedersen, 32, and Holly Ann Grigsby, 25, prosecutor Amanda Marshall said in a news release. Grigsby will be arraigned Monday in Seattle. Pedersen’s arraignment in Portland hasn’t been scheduled.

“The indictment in this case alleges horrendous crimes were committed as part of defendants’ white-supremacist campaign to kidnap and murder targets on the basis of race, color, religion and perceived ‘degenerate’ conduct,” Marshall said.

They are charged in the killing, kidnapping and robbery of four people last fall: Pedersen’s father, David “Red” Pedersen, and stepmother, Leslie “DeeDee” Pedersen, on Sept. 26 in Everett, Wash.; Cody Myers, a 19-year-old from Oregon on Oct. 1; and Reginald Clark, 53 of Eureka, Calif., on Oct. 3.

Clark was black and Grigsby allegedly told investigators that Myers, a Christian, was killed because his name sounded Jewish.

The 24-page indictment charges that Pedersen and Grigsby were members of a criminal enterprise whose aim was to promote a white supremacist movement. The pair robbed their victims to finance the campaign, stole their cars to escape and murdered them to eliminate witnesses and avoid capture.

The enterprise, according to the indictment, also targeted Jewish leaders and members of prominent Jewish organizations. Pedersen researched the names and addresses of Jewish organizations in Seattle, Portland and Sacramento, Calif., to identify potential targets for elimination.

“He possessed a draft ‘press release’ to alert the media about the purpose of the planned murders,” the indictment states.

The indictment includes no indication that he came close to killing any Jewish leaders.

Pedersen pleaded guilty in Washington to killing his father and stepmother and was sentenced in March to life in prison without the chance for parole. The federal indictment charges him and Grigsby with numerous other crimes.

“There’s a significant federal interest in pursuing justice for all the offenses,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Shoemaker said in a phone interview.

Grigsby is still awaiting trial. She confessed in a five-hour videotaped interview with Oregon state police, a Washington prosecutor wrote in a court document.

Her attorney in the Washington state case, Peter Mazzone, said Friday he would be willing to defend her against the federal racketeering charges, if appointed.

“We were working on a defense for her, and we were developing it,” he said. “But, of course, now this has happened.”

The Washington prosecutor announced in May he wouldn’t seek the death penalty against Grigsby because the killing spree was led by Pedersen.

Mazzone said the issue of “the extreme undue influence exerted on her” is a potential defense.

Grigsby and Pedersen expressed white supremacist beliefs in media interviews. Pedersen has a tattoo of a swastika on his chest above his heart and an image of Adolph Hitler on his stomach. The blue initials “SWP,” for Supreme White Power, are on his neck.

The pair was arrested outside Yuba City, Calif., when a police officer spotted them in Myers’ car. Authorities had been tracking them by use of stolen credit cards and had alerted police in several states.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.