2 on trial for pregnant woman’s slaying near Tonasket
Two Spokane residents charged in the ice-pick slaying of a pregnant woman near Tonasket last year face life in prison if convicted by an Okanogan County jury this month.
Tansy Fay-Arwen Mathis, 30, and David Eugene Richards, 34, are accused of killing 25-year-old Michelle L. Kitterman and her unborn baby in an attack authorities say was motivated by an affair Kitterman was having with the husband of Lacey K. Hirst-Pavek, 33, of Tonasket.
Richards and Mathis are charged with aggravated first-degree murder, which carries a life sentence if convicted.
Kitterman was 11 weeks pregnant when she was found dead on March 1 along a driveway adjacent to Stalder Road, near Tonasket.
Investigators say Hirst-Pavek offered $500 for the killing, then rented a car that detectives said was used in the attack.
Hirst-Pavek is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder for Kitterman’s slaying and first-degree manslaughter for the death Kitterman’s unborn child.
A key witness against Mathis and Richards is 39-year-old Brent L. “Hollywood” Phillips, of Spokane, who pleaded guilty to Kitterman’s murder March 29. A plea deal calls for him to get 26 years in prison when he’s sentenced May 11, said Okanogan County Prosecutor Karl Sloan.
Other witnesses include Spokane police investigators who assisted Okanogan County in the investigation because “several of the people (Okanagan investigators) needed to speak with were in Spokane,” Sloan said.
Phillips and Richards lived in Spokane at the time of the murder.
Mathis, formerly of Tonasket, is believed to have met with Hirst-Pavek several times before reaching an agreement to “take care of” Kitterman for $500 and persuading Richards and Phillips to get involved, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said in previously published reports.
Richards is believed to have provided the ice pick, Rogers said.
Lawyer Steve Graham, who’s defending Mathis, said the murder was the “sole work” of Phillips.
The trial began last week; closing arguments are expected Tuesday or Wednesday.