Four members of a white-supremacist gang, and the girlfriend of one of them, have been charged with killing a fifth member of the group, according to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to police and prosecutors, the group believed the victim, Derek Wagner, 27, of Kalama, Cowlitz County, was associating with a rival gang and sleeping with the wife of defendant Mark Michael Stredicke, 37.
“The victim was murdered for violating the gang’s own code,” Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist said in a statement released after the defendants’ arraignment today.
Prosecutors allege that on Nov. 16, another member of the alleged conspiracy, Jeffrey Allen Cooke, 32, picked up Wagner from a friend’s home in Yelm and took him to his own home in Tacoma. Within a few hours, the other four defendants joined them at Cooke’s home, prosecutors say.
The group then went to the home of defendant Eric Michael Elliser, 33, where “the group confronted the victim (Wagner) for two violations of their gang’s code of conduct,” Lindquist said.
Wagner tried to escape but was stabbed multiple times. He collapsed and bled to death in the yard of a nearby resident, who discovered the body on Nov. 20, according to court documents
Prosecutors said in court documents that a KA-BAR knife, which Cooke was known to carry, was found near the body.
In addition to Cooke, Stredicke and Elliser, prosecutors charged Shanne Thomas McKrittrick, 32, and his girlfriend, Melissa Ann Bourgault, 33.
Lindquist said the four male defendants and the victim have ties to the Aryan Skins Kindred prison gang.
Not guilty pleas were entered Friday on behalf of all five defendants. They were charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.