May 5, 2010 in City

Traffic stop leads to arrests

Three charged with Tacoma-area murder
Associated Press
 

TACOMA – Three people arrested during a traffic stop near San Francisco last weekend have been identified as suspects in a robbery that left a Pierce County father dead, police said.

Two people remain in custody in California. The third bailed out before authorities learned of her alleged connection to the killing of James Sanders at his Edgewood home near Tacoma last Wednesday night. However, she turned herself in Tuesday evening to authorities in Pierce County.

Investigators say the attackers posed as people responding to an ad Sanders placed on Craigslist offering a diamond ring for sale. Once inside, the attackers tied up Sanders and his wife and began kicking and pistol-whipping them.

When Sanders’ 14-year-old son tried to intervene, one of the attackers began pistol-whipping him. Sanders, 43, broke his hands free to defend his son, and he was shot three times.

Police in Daly City, Calif., arrested Kiyoshi A. Higashi, 22, and Joshua N. Reese, 20, both of Tacoma, and Amanda C. Knight, 21, of Sumner, Wash., on Saturday. They were in a white car with altered Washington plates, and a firearm was found in the vehicle, Pierce County Sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer said Tuesday.

Knight posted bail, but Troyer said she showed up Tuesday evening at a police station in Sumner and was being booked into the Pierce County Jail.

California police informed Pierce County investigators of the arrests on Sunday, charging documents said.

On Monday, the Sheriff’s Office received a tip from someone who said she was at the home of Higashi’s father when Higashi called from jail in California.

Kiyoshi Higashi told his father that California law enforcement seized the gun used in the Edgewood robbery, the tipster said.

Detectives then showed a photo montage to Charlene Sanders, the victim’s wife, that included photographs of the three suspects. She identified Higashi and Knight as two of the intruders, Troyer said.

Higashi and Reese await extradition to Washington state, while investigators try to determine the identity of a fourth suspect.

County prosecutors charged each of them with murder, robbery and assault Tuesday. Troyer said the group is also believed to be responsible for a similar home-invasion robbery in Lake Stevens, Wash.

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