Few signs teen suspects were capable of Keizer killing, friends say

Few signs teen suspects were capable of Keizer killing, friends say

Print
Email
|

by Cornelius Swart, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 8 at 3:12 AM

KEIZER, Ore.-- Residents of Keizer said Friday that they saw few, if any, warnings signs that two teens accused of the murdering a woman and wounding a man would have been capable of a violent act.

Michelle Yvonne Pearson, 44, was found dead and her husband, 57-year old Wilfred “Bill” Pearson was found wounded inside their Keiser home at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.

Michelle Pearson died of a gunshot wound to the neck and chest.

Brett Angus Pearson, Michelle and Bill’s son, and Robert Daniel Miller II, both 17, were arrested later that evening and charged with the crime.

The Pearson family released a statement Friday saying "We are shocked and heartbroken by the tradic events of March March 5...Michelle was the heart of our family and we ask for privacy as we grieve this loss."

More: Keizer teen, friend accused in killing of mother, wounding father

Police told KGW Friday that they believe Pearson and Miller had been planning the attack for some time. But there were no indicators the teens were capable of such violence, according to friends and neighbors.

Just six hours before Michelle and Bill Pearson were found, Brett posted a chilling Facebook update announcing that "Life's about to change in a number of ways." The comment was 'liked' by Robert Miller.

The posting appeared on what looked to be a joint account shared with Pearson and his girlfriend Perla Torres. The post now appears on Torres' page.  Police said Friday that they intended to question the girl.

In an age when people increasingly share every experience and emotion on social media, those who commit high profile crimes often confess or hint at their actions on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

More: Suspected Boston bomber sends out cryptic tweets

Still most who knew the teens and the Pearson family saw no signs that a tragedy was about to unfold.

Cody Ratliff said he was best friends with Pearson and Miller and he reacted with "disbelief" to the news. He said he saw police cars race toward the Pearson house Wednesday night but did not suspect what had occurred.

Ratliff said he did not see the Facebook post Wednesday night but it would not have raised concerns.

Bill and Michelle Pearson pictured right

“Not a clue,” Ratliff said. “I would have asked him what it meant. But he was a very positive person. He would post how things were going to change for the better.”

Disbelief was also how the family's priest, Father Gary Zerr of St. Edward Catholic Church, characterized his parishes’ reaction to the incident.

"I've known them for 10 years, just really nice people," family friend Theresa Whisenhunt told KGW Thursday. "Really great family. I don't know what would have brought this on."

Both teens had struggled at school.

The two attended McNary High School in Kaizer but left before graduation. Pearson was continuing his education at a downtown learning center and Miller left high school in January. The school district would not confirm why either teen left McNary, but friends said Pearson was expelled two years ago after getting into a fight.

Ratliff said Pearson had been caught up in drugs for some time but believed he was clean as of late. But sought to dispel rumors that either teen was involved with meth or gangs.

He wants the two to know that he still cares about them.

"Don't believe it was all them,” Ratliff said. “If they were on any drugs then I blame that, not them. They weren't in their right minds. If they did do it, it was drugs, it was not them. It's not their nature whatsoever.”

----------------

Ashley Korslien contributed to this report

Print
Email
|