A man from deep in the Pacific Northwest woods is heading to prison for the murder of a neighbor couple whom he feuded with for years.
John Reed, 55, was convicted Wednesday of murdering a woman in 2016 and then ambushing and killing her husband later in the day near their home in Oso, Washington. Reed’s brother Tony, 45, testified that he helped Reed bury the bodies and then escape to Mexico.
Reed claimed he acted in self-defense, but his testimony didn’t convince jurors, according to the Seattle Times.
Reed butted heads in a years-long feud with his neighbors Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude over an easement road on the couple’s land that had to be used to access Reed’s property. Prosecutors said he threatened their lives as far back as 2013 after they cut brush near his property line.
The feud seemed ready to end when Reed took a federal disaster buyout for his property after devastating mudslides in the region killed 43 people in 2014.
But then Reed continued to access his property even after making the sale, as he testified in court, according to the Everett Herald. Shunn, 45, and Patenaude, 46, reported him for trespassing and squatting.
The feud reached its climax on April 11, 2016, when Reed fatally shot the couple. But Reed and the cops tell wildly different tales of what happened that day.
Investigators say Reed shot Patenaude in her driveway in the late morning and then ambushed Shunn several hours later when he returned from work. Cops used data from step-counting apps to show that Patenaude stopped walking around 11 a.m. and Shunn at roughly 3 p.m.
According to Reed’s story, he and Patenaude got into an argument that morning. She had been drinking, Reed said, and he called her a derogatory name.
“In two seconds, she went from being really mean to just irate,” he testified.
Shunn watched all this unfold, Reed claimed, and the couple both had guns. Shunn and Reed started fighting. Reed took his gun and shot both of them, he said.
Reed shot Patenaude multiple times, according to prosecutors. One bullet struck her arm as she was likely trying to shield herself. Another struck her head.
Reed’s brother Tony testified that he helped bury the couple’s bodies beneath an uprooted tree deep in the woods the next day. Their parents Clyde Reed, 83, and Faye Reed, 79, allegedly helped them cash a $100,000 cashier’s check so they could flee to Mexico.
The parents are both charged with felonies for allegedly assisting the getaway.
The Reed brothers had been close, Tony testified in court. He said his brother was a "bad-ass dude."
Tony Reed turned himself in at the U.S.-Mexico border in May 2016. John Reed was captured in the Mexican state of Sonora in July 2016.
Reed’s brother Tony was sentenced to 14 months for his part in the crime. Reed is scheduled to be sentenced on July 6.
[Photo: Snohomish County Sheriff's Office]
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