Pedersen pleads guilty to carjacking deaths

David Pedersen in a recent photo from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Department, April 23, 2014
David Pedersen in a recent photo from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Department, April 23, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — David Pedersen, who along with his girlfriend was charged with killing two men in Oregon coast and California in what authorities called a white-supremacist scheme, changed his plea to guilty in federal court Wednesday.

Pedersen, 32, pleaded guilty to two counts of carjacking resulting in the death of a human.

He and his girlfriend, Holly Ann Grigsby, went on a 2011 crime spree in the Northwest that left a total of four people dead.

A federal grand jury indicted the pair in August 2012. They were to face trial in July on federal kidnapping, carjacking and murder charges.

In February, the US Justice Department decided against seeking the death penalty for them.

In March, Grigsby pleaded guilty in federal court to racketeering charges connected to the four killings.

David Pedersen, holly grigsby
FILE – Holly Grigsby waits with her boyfriend, David “Joey” Pedersen, during an appearance in Yuba County Superior Court in Marysville, Calif. The pairs’ murderous crime spree through Washington, Oregon and California, is one of Oregon’s top 2011 stories.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)

Under the agreement, Grigsby will not be prosecuted in state court in Oregon, Washington or California.

Pedersen and Grigsby have white-supremacist ties, and Pedersen has said in court that his motivation for the slayings was partly because of the victims’ ethnicities or skin color. Pedersen said he believed the Oregon teenager was Jewish, and that he and Grigsby targeted the man in California because he was black.

Pedersen pleaded guilty in state court to aggravated murder for the slaying of his father and stepmother in Everett, Wash., and was sentenced to life in prison.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.

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