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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Trial for suspects in fatal Newport beating of Jason Fox tentatively set for February; two plead not guilty

Jason Fox, 19, was killed in September. Four men have been charged in his death.  (Courtesy)
Jason Fox, 19, was killed in September. Four men have been charged in his death. (Courtesy)

Matthew Raddatz-Freeman and Kevin Belding, two of four men accused of beating a 19-year-old man to death and burying his body in a shallow grave near Newport, pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Both defendants were ordered not to contact each other or the other two suspects arrested in connection with the killing of Jason Fox. They were also ordered not to contact Ashley Shelgren, Amanda Pierson, and Jennifer Lee and Angel Malone. Shelgren and Pierson were at the location the night when investigators with the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office say Fox was killed. Fox lived with Lee and Malone at the time of his death, according to court documents.

Judge Lech Radzimski said the suspected killers’ Feb. 1 trial date was tentative. The men remain in jail with bail set at $750,000 each.

Michael and Pepper Fox, Jason’s parents, feared that Fox, who identified as bisexual, might have been the victim of a hate crime, according to KHQ. His parents attended both arraignments.

“The loss of Jason was a devastating blow to our family. Some of the people responsible being in court helps ease the burden,” Michael Fox said outside the county courthouse in Newport. “We’ll be there, every court date.”

Maggie Quinlan can be reached at (509) 459-5135 or maggieq@spokesman.com

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