An 18-year-old Spokane Valley man was arrested Friday on suspicion of first-degree murder after a body was found in his basement.
Kevin David Stevens was detained and later arrested when he drove up to his home at 7721 E. Trent Ave. on Thursday night, with his mother, while sheriff’s deputies were examining the tarp-wrapped body.
Court documents indicate the body was believed to be that of 19-year-old Peter M. Joseph, whose mother reported him missing on April 11. Maria Joseph told authorities she last saw her son on March 29. Stevens reportedly confirmed the dead man was Joseph, who had been his roommate.
The dead man’s hands and feet were bound with duct tape, his head was covered with a plastic bag secured with tape, and a belt was wrapped loosely around his neck when investigators examined the body.
Detective Doug Marske’s affidavit of probable cause for Stevens’ arrest doesn’t say how Joseph died, but it indicates Stevens told investigators that Joseph’s body had been in the basement about five weeks and had been moved.
Stevens admitted to being part of a conspiracy to rob Joseph of drugs and money, Marske stated. Stevens said Joseph was a large-scale marijuana and Oxycontin drug dealer.
Stevens told detectives he didn’t want to kill Joseph, but he admitted helping plan and execute a scheme in which his role was to distract Joseph, according to Marske’s affidavit. Also, Marske said, Stevens admitted helping wrap Joseph in the tarp.
The court document states that Stevens refused to name any other participants or to provide details of the crime.
“He stated that he wants to take the blame,” Marske wrote.
Stevens said he could identify one or more co-conspirators and could provide complete details of the crime, “but was choosing not to,” Marske stated.
When asked whether he was sorry, Marske said that Stevens replied, “Sorry for what? Yeah, I’m sorry, but what’s done is done. I’ve done something very wrong.”
The detective’s statement lays out these events leading up to the discovery of the body:
Jerrame Kimble – who is a relative, co-worker and close neighbor of Stevens – said after discovering the body Thursday night that Stevens had commented about a week earlier that he had a body in his basement.
Kimble said Stevens made the remark while they and two other men – Randy Jensen and Freddie Byerly – were working in Twisp, Wash., between April 17 and 21.
Stevens seemed nervous and told Jensen he had to get back to Spokane because he had a body in his basement, Kimble said. Jensen didn’t believe Stevens, but Stevens left their hotel on April 20 and didn’t return.
Kimble said he learned from Stevens’ grandfather last Saturday that Stevens had been arrested in Wenatchee on a charge of being in possession of a stolen vehicle.
As a result of statements Stevens made to authorities when he was arrested in Wenatchee, Kimble said that he, Jensen and Byerly were arrested last Saturday in Okanogan County on various stolen-property charges.
After bailing themselves out of jail, Kimble told detectives, he and Jensen entered Stevens’ basement and found a shovel sticking out of a hole that had been dug in the dirt floor.
They opened the door to a room in the basement, tugged on a blue tarp and discovered the body of a man he knew had been staying with Stevens.
Kimble said he had last seen the man at the end of March.
Marske stated that Jensen gave investigators a similar account.
Two women, Jensen’s girlfriend, Alexa Carras-Branom, and Becky Kimble, whose relationship wasn’t specified, said Jensen and Jerrame Kimble were “freaking out” when they emerged from Stevens’ house. Then Jensen called authorities.
Spokane County records show Stevens and Joseph both have been charged in Juvenile Court with drug and property crimes.
Charges of second-degree car theft, for stealing his grandfather’s pickup, and possession of drug paraphernalia were dropped against Stevens last year after he performed 60 hours of community service and completed six months of probation.
Joseph was charged with second-degree burglary of the China Dragon restaurant on North Division in 2003, but the case was dismissed.
A 2004 marijuana possession charge against Joseph was dismissed when he turned 18 and was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. The case wasn’t transferred to adult court.
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