Pierce County sheriff’s deputies have identified the fourth and final suspect in a fatal April 28 home-invasion robbery in which Edgewood father James Sanders, 43, was killed.
The suspect, Clabon Terrel Berniard, 23, is not in custody. He is from the SeaTac area, but his whereabouts are unknown. The sheriff’s department issued a nationwide warrant for his arrest Wednesday.
Prosecutors have charged Berniard with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree assault – duplicating the charges faced by the other three suspects.
“I hope that no one would render assistance to this guy,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.
Berniard has prior convictions in King County for second-degree burglary in 2009, second-degree robbery in 2007, and second-degree theft in 2006, according to court records.
New details and developments in the case emerged swiftly Wednesday, but lingering questions remained. Who actually shot Sanders is still unclear.
“I don’t know – we’re still sorting that out,” Lindquist said.
Sanders was killed after four robbers came to his home, purportedly to buy a diamond ring offered on Craigslist, the classified advertising website. Sanders’ wife was tied up and one of his sons was pistol-whipped during the robbery.
The four suspects are linked to an April 25 home-invasion robbery in Lake Stevens, and investigators are seeking links to other crimes, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. Prosecutors haven’t ruled out that associates of the suspects helped them in their flight. On Wednesday, Lindquist said he’d seen no evidence to support that charge yet.
One suspect, Amanda C. Knight, 21, was arraigned Wednesday in Superior Court. She pleaded not guilty, and was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail. Knight turned herself in to Sumner police Tuesday night.
James Sanders’ widow, Charlene, felt chills when she saw Knight in court.
“I remember that face when I was zip-tied on the floor, looking up at her,” Charlene Sanders told reporters after the hearing.
Standing next to his sister-in-law, Derek Sanders said that the four suspects were equally culpable in his brother’s death.
“They all had weapons,” he said. “They were prepped to do whatever happened that night.”
The remaining two men charged in the Edgewood slaying waived extradition Wednesday during appearances in a California courtroom.
Kiyoshi Higashi, 22, and Joshua Reese, 20, appeared without attorneys. They are being held in San Mateo County without bail.
Waiving extradition speeds the suspects’ return to Pierce County, Lindquist said.
“They’re gonna end up here sooner than later,” he said. “Maybe by this Friday – certainly by Monday.”