Murder For Hire Suspects Face Arraignment

OKANOGAN, Wash. — Three of the four people suspected in a murder-for-hire plot of a pregnant Tonasket woman made were arraigned on Thursday.

Police say Brent Phillips and Tansy Fae Mathis stabbed Michelle Kitterman to death on a dirt road, 15 miles from Tonasket, in a remote part of Okanogan County.

Kitterman was ten weeks pregnant when she picked up from her home on the night of February 28th. Police say Phillips and Mathis then drove Kitterman to the remote location where she was eventually stabbed and left for dead.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers says the murder is a senseless crime.

“To beat someone, stab them and leave them on some road somewhere to die, that’s brutal to me,” he said.

A third person, Lacy Hirst-Pavek, is accused of masterminding the plan, police say it was a murder for hire scheme.

Hirst-Pavek’s husband was allegedly having an affair with Kitterman, an idea that police say drove Hirst-Pavek to hire the duo to kill Kitterman.

“We found out she had actually contacted people and offered $500 to Tansy Mathis,” said Sheriff Rogers.

All three entered pleas on Thursday in an Okanogan County courtroom while Michelle Kitterman’s mother looked on.

“We’re hear for my daughter and my daughter only,” said Tracy Kitterman as she addressed the press outside the courtroom. “I don’t wish this on anybody or anybody’s family.”

It’s a crime that has taken it’s toll on Okanogan County.

“We’re a small population so we all kind of know each other,” said Sheriff Rogers. “When this stuff happens, in any small community, it’s tough… it’s hard to understand.”

All three have hearings later on in April while their trials are scheduled for June. The fourth suspect, 33-year-old David Richards, turned himself into Spokane Police on April 5th.