December 4, 1996 in Nation/World

Woman Says Ex-Lover Came Back To Kill Her Detectives Believe Gunman Sought Revenge Against Woman Who Turned Him In

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Jennifer Hettinger told authorities John Erickson abused her daughter and grew marijuana in a backyard shed. He wanted to know why.

So Sunday night, he grabbed a ski mask and a .45-caliber pistol and drove to Deer Park to abduct his former girlfriend and force her to talk, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Hettinger, who last month obtained a domestic violence protection order against Erickson, told detectives Erickson kidnapped her about 10:30 p.m. and threatened her with torture and death.

“Erickson held his gun to her throat at one point and talked about how he could kill her slowly,” a sheriff’s detective said in an affidavit of probable cause.

Erickson - out of jail because prosecutors haven’t filed drug charges - threatened to gouge her eyes out and cut off her arms so she could never hug her three children again, the detective said.

The 29-year-old woman’s ordeal ended nearly 18 hours later when Erickson let her walk out of his house at 811 E. Bridgeport in Spokane. She was unharmed.

On Tuesday, the man she lived with for 4-1/2 years was charged with first-degree kidnapping and ordered held in jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. District Court Commissioner Vance Peterson also ordered Erickson, 38, to undergo a mental evaluation.

It’s the second time in six weeks Erickson has found himself behind bars because of his girlfriend’s allegations against him.

He was jailed on suspicion of growing marijuana in mid-October after Hettinger tipped off investigators about a lucrative pot-growing operation he was allegedly running from his shed, according to court records.

She told detectives Erickson had been growing pot at the Bridgeport house for more than seven years, grossing nearly $300,000 in one four-year period.

Erickson spent three days in jail after the police raided his house, seizing pot plants and growing equipment. He was released Oct. 19 when prosecutors didn’t file criminal charges.

David McCabe, the lead police detective on the marijuana investigation, said Tuesday his office probably hasn’t forwarded the case to prosecutors yet. McCabe refused to comment further.

Erickson was already upset with Hettinger because she moved out after telling state Child Protective Services that he had sexually abused one of her daughters.

Neighbors said Hettinger then went into hiding.

About 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Erickson found her.

Dressed in black and wearing a ski mask, the burly man confronted Hettinger outside the Deer Park apartment of the man who fathered her children - Arthur Patenaude, deputies said.

Erickson pulled his gun and pushed her back inside, where he held Hettinger, Patenaude, 41; Rachel Deppmeier, 37; and Hettinger’s 10-year-old daughter for more than six hours.

He alternately pointed the pistol at Hettinger and himself, deputies said.

“The defendant was reportedly upset about allegations of sex abuse that have been raised about him,” detectives said in the affidavit.

“He also complained about a police raid at his residence which resulted in his marijuana plants being confiscated … He stated that only she could help him clear up these problems.”

Erickson then forced Hettinger into his powder-blue 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass and drove her to the Bridgeport house, according to the affidavit.

Patenaude and Deppmeier called police, who surrounded the house just west of Nevada about 8 a.m. Monday.

Nearly 10 hours after his house was surrounded by a SWAT team toting submachine guns, Erickson surrendered without firing a shot.

Authorities who later searched his home found a loaded and cocked .45-caliber Llama pistol on a TV tray just inside the front door. “A lot of additional .45-caliber ammunition was found in this same front room area,” detectives said in their affidavit.

Deputies also discovered a .22-caliber rifle hidden under a rug in an adjacent bedroom and a ski mask on the dash of the Cutlass.

After the standoff, Erickson denied kidnapping his former girlfriend. He told detectives he met Hettinger at her apartment in Deer Park “to discuss some problems with her.”

He admitted carrying his pistol, but said it wasn’t loaded. Erickson said he only wanted to frighten Hettinger and never intended to hurt her, according to the detectives.

, DataTimes


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