Two men arrested for another man's murder attempted to conceal the killing but then went out and bragged about it.
Spokane Police confirm that Vincent Merrill, 20, and Dakota Moss, 24, have been arrested on charges of first degree murder.
They were arrested following the discovery of a body with its hands and feet bound in the water beneath the Trent Bridge near the Gonzaga University campus Thursday.
The medical examiner's office identified the victim Friday afternoon as Mark Pederson. Pederson, 40, died from strangulation with blunt force trauma a contributing factor in his death.
The three men knew each other, were all transients and had apparently been living underneath the bridge for several days. When Merrill and Moss learned that Pedersen had allegedly molested a child, they attacked him in his sleep, strangling him and beating him with a rock before dumping his body in the river.
Divers recovered the victim in about six feet of water slightly downstream from the crime scene.
"We got a phone call to the police department about 11 a.m. yesterday morning from fishermen along the river that had located a body in the river," Spokane Police Major Crimes Lieutenant Mark Griffiths said.
Divers brought Pedersen to the surface and that's when some of the officers who work the downtown area recognized him as a transient. It didn't take detectives very long to figure out Pederson had been hanging out with.
"About 7 p.m. yesterday evening a patrol officer found a group of transients that matched the description of the people we had identified and through interviews and other ways we determined they were the people involved," Griffiths said.
Police say Merrill and Moss killed Pedersen; detectives believe the pair jumped him in the middle of the night and strangled him with an electrical cord. The suspects then allegedly tied up Pedersen's hands and feet before beating him with a rock and then sinking his body in the river.
Divers found freshly placed boulders around Pedersen's body.
"His hands were bound behind his back, he did have a bag over his head and his feet were also bound together," Griffiths said.
Merrill and Moss have been charged with first degree premeditated murder. At their first appearance Friday a judge set their bail at $1 Million each.
While the suspects attempted to conceal their involvement in Pedersen's killing they later bragged about it. They burned Pedersen's bedding, repainted his bike, which they stole from him, so no one would recognize it, but Moss gave away his role in the killing by wearing Pedersen's sneakers and saying that he was walking around in a dead man's shoes.
In regard to Merrill's and Moss's motive for killing Pedersen, a check with the Department of Corrections showed that Pedersen had no prior convictions for child molestation.