Two Washougal residents were arrested in Clarkston on March 30 as alleged suspects in connection with the murder of a Washougal man.
Michael D. Lindsey, 21, and Darlene M. McClellan, 41, both of Washougal, were taken into custody after being stopped in their vehicle in Clarkston at about 11 a.m. Clarkston is in the far southeastern corner of the state, on the Washington-Idaho border across from Lewiston, Idaho.
The arrests came just one week after the body of James D. Morris, 22, was found in a shallow grave in a heavily wooded area off Rattlesnake Road, about six miles northeast of Husum.
"They were arrested without a hitch," said KCSO Sheriff Chris Mace. "The Clarkston Police Department really did a nice job. They located where they were, watched them, and when they jumped in their car and took off, they took them in a traffic stop."
A medical examination revealed that Morris died from two shotgun blasts, one to the neck and one just below the rib cage.
Morris, a Washougal resident, was last seen in Washougal on March 14, and had been reported missing on March 15.
Mace said he was pleased with the swift pace of the investigation.
Detectives from KCSO obtained a search warrant and searched a Washougal residence on Tuesday, March 30. Evidence gathered at that location led to KCSO issuing a police bulletin that night that identified Lindsey and McClellan as "persons of interest."
"The guys really worked hard on this," Mace said. "We got a lot of help from the Washougal Police Department, and my three detectives worked around the clock on this and just did a great job."
According to Sheriff Mace, authorities subsequently identified the two as suspects in the homicide.
"They knew the victim, and there was enough probable cause for the judge to issue an arrest warrant," Mace said
A 12-gauge shotgun was recovered at the Washougal residence during the search.
Mace said the investigation is continuing.
"We're not sure of the motive," Mace said. "We're still doing interviews. We're not sure what went awry between them."
Mace added that they believe the victim was slain at
the site where his body was discovered.
"The evidence leads us to believe the crime did occur in that area," Mace said.
After the arrests, KCSO and Washougal Police Department detectives traveled to Clarkston to search the vehicle and interview Lindsey and McClellan.
The two suspects were transported from Clarkston to the Klickitat County Jail in Goldendale on the evening of March 31. They were booked on charges of alleged aggravated murder in the first degree.
Because of the gravity of the charges, the defendants could face the death penalty if found guilty of the murder of Morris.
Klickitat County Prosecuting Attorney Tim O'Neill said the two were being held on a no-bail warrant. He added that no date has yet been set for a trial.
Lindsey and McClellan had a preliminary appearance in Superior Court in Goldendale on Friday, and remain lodged in the Klickitat County Jail.
The court appointed Gwendolyn Grundei, a Goldendale attorney, to serve as defense attorney for Lindsey. Gerald Matosich of Lyle and Rick Hansen of Goldendale were appointed as attorneys for McClellan.