Formal charges filed against four suspects accused of killing Newport teen
NEWPORT, Wash. — The Pend Oreille County Prosecutor’s Office has filed formal charges against the four men accused of killing and burying a 19-year-old Newport man.
According to court records, all the suspects were charged last Thursday.
Jason Fox was reported missing on September 16. His remains were found October 4, buried about 3-4 feet in the ground. Deputies say in court documents that he was found with his hands tied behind his back.
The four suspects – Matthew Raddatz-Freeman, Kevin Belding, Riley James Hillestad and Claude Le Roy Merritt II — were all arrested this month.
Here’s a list of their charges:
Riley Hillestad, Matthew Raddatz-Freeman and Claude Merritt: First and second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree kidnapping, tampering with physical evidence, unlawful disposal of human remains, failure to notify the coroner, and unauthorized concealment of a body.
Kevin Belding: First and second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree kidnapping, unlawful disposal of human remains, unauthorized concealment of a body, and failure to notify the coroner.
During their first appearance, some of the suspects were also facing other charges including taking a motor vehicle without permission and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant. However, those charges were not filed.
All the suspects, except Hillestad, are expected to be back in court for arraignment on Nov. 19.
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