YAKIMA, Wash. — Police now have four suspects in custody in connection to the slayings of two Yakima men whose bodies were found in a car left in the Yakima River Canyon in December.
Police say one of the suspects is blaming the killings on two of the other suspects.
Marco A. Gallegos, 22, and Heriberto Villa Jr., 23, were arrested Friday in Yakima and booked into the Yakima County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and kidnapping, police Capt. Rod Light said in a news release Monday.
Another suspect, 23-year-old Jose Alfonso Pineda, was arrested earlier Friday by police in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines, joining 41-year-old Troy Whalen, who was arrested Wednesday night in Yakima.
Police say they believe the four are responsible for the shooting deaths of Michael Kevin Eby Jr., 36, and Ryan Michael Pederson, 35. Their bodies were found Dec. 21 in a car just off State Route 821 near the Yakima River’s Roza Dam.
According to a probable-cause affidavit issued last week, detectives believe Eby was killed at Whalen’s home in the 2900 block of Hathaway Street. Detectives said Whalen told them Eby was killed in the garage and that Pederson was killed later in the car.
In an updated version of the affidavit, made available Monday, detectives said that after his arrest, Pineda told them that Gallegos and Villa did the killings. As before, the motive remains largely unspecified, although Light has said it involved drugs and money.
According to the affidavit: Pineda stated that he got into an argument and then a fight with Eby. Galegos pulled Eby off of him, then shot Eby with a pistol, firing several more times as he lay on the ground.
Eby’s body was wrapped up and put in the trunk of Eby’s car, which was driven to the canyon.
The affidavit stated Pineda said Gallegos told Villa to kill Pederson, which he did.
Bail was set at $2 million each for Gallegos and Villa during preliminary appearances Monday in Yakima County Superior Court.
Pineda was expected to make his first court appearance in Western Washington.
The location where the car was found dumped is just across the Kittitas County line. Sheriff’s detectives from Ellensburg worked with YPD detectives on the investigation.
• Chris Bristol can be reached at 509-577-7748 or firstname.lastname@example.org.