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Man gets life sentence for killing rural Washington couple

July 7, 2018
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FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Snohomish County Sheriff Office shows John Reed. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss sentenced Reed to life in prison without parole Friday, July 6, 2018, in the shooting deaths of his former neighbors Monique Patenaude and Patrick Shunn near Oso, Wash. (Snohomish County Sheriff Office via AP, File )

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A man has been given a life sentence for killing his former neighbors and hiding their bodies in the woods northeast of Seattle after one of them told authorities he was squatting at the house he sold following a devastating landslide.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss sentenced John Reed on Friday in the shooting deaths of 46-year-old Monique Patenaude and 45-year-old Patrick Shunn.

A jury in May found Reed guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Shunn and second-degree murder in the death of Patenaude after a two-week trial.

“Your demeanor was such that there was absolutely no remorse,” Weiss told Reed in court Friday. “At certain points, it almost appeared to be a game — like a game of chess to you.”

Reed declined to speak in court Friday. His attorney, Phil Sayles, said Reed has maintained his innocence.

Prosecutors said Reed killed Patenaude and then fatally shot Shunn several hours later as he arrived home on April 11, 2016, near Oso, a small community that was the site of the nation’s worst landslide in 2014.

Reed had an ongoing feud with the couple and threatened to shoot them after they cut brush next to his property in 2013, according to prosecutors. Deputies described Reed as an aggressive neighbor.

After the landslide, Reed sold his property to the county under a flood-mitigation program. Weeks before Patenaude was killed, she reported that Reed had been illegally squatting, according to charging documents.

Reed testified at trial that he shot Patenaude and Shunn in self-defense after the couple confronted him at his former property. He claimed he panicked and had his brother, Tony Reed, help him bury the bodies and stash the couple’s vehicles.

The brothers then fled to Mexico. Mexican authorities arrested John Reed more than two months later.

Tony Reed had already turned himself in and led detectives to the couple’s gravesite. He was sentenced to 14 months in jail after pleading guilty to rendering criminal assistance.

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