(Reuters) - A white supremacist convicted of killing two people and accused of killing two more during a violent road trip across the Pacific Northwest pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Oregon to two counts of carjacking resulting in death, his attorney said.
David Joseph Pedersen, 33, is already serving a life sentence in Washington state after pleading guilty in 2012 to first-degree murder for the shooting death of his father and the stabbing death of his stepmother in the Puget Sound city of Everett.
Pedersen and his girlfriend, Holly Ann Grigsby, were arrested in 2011 in northern California after a bloody, two-week crime spree that began in Everett with the slaying of the elder Pedersens.
The three-state road trip, during which the duo are also accused of killing a middle-aged black man and a 19-year-old stranger singled out because they thought he was Jewish, ended with Grigsby allegedly telling police she and Pedersen were on their way to “kill more Jews” in Sacramento, California.
The couple’s white-supremacist associations were evident from tattoos on Pedersen’s neck and through racist Facebook postings by Grigsby, police said.
Under the plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Pedersen will serve his latest sentence concurrently in the prison where he has been, said his court-appointed attorney, Richard Wolf.
The agreement was entered together with those of Corey and Kimberly Wyatt, friends of the pair who were charged with helping Pedersen get a gun and failing to turn them in to authorities, Wolf said. The plea deal will limit the punishment for the Wyatts.
Both Wyatts pleaded guilty to the interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle - Pedersen’s father’s car - with Corey Wyatt also pleading guilty to unlawfully transferring a firearm to Pedersen.
Corey Wyatt will be sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison, Wolf said, while Kimberly Wyatt will receive probation.
“The only benefit to Mr. Pedersen,” who went along with the interlocking pleas, “is that he was able to help out his friends who he had put in a very difficult position,” Wolf said.
Grigsby pleaded guilty to racketeering charges that encapsulated all the alleged crimes last month and is expected to be sentenced in June to life in federal prison, Wolf said. Federal prosecutors said in February they would not seek the death penalty against Pedersen or Grigsby.
Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in Olympia, Washington; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Prudence Crowther