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Bail set at $1 million in case of man shot dead off Old Highway 99

Suspicious death draws sheriff’s investigation

Thurston County Sheriff's deputies and the Thurston County coroner are investigation the death of a man in the Melody Pines Estates mobile park on Old Highway 99 south of Tumwater.
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Thurston County Sheriff's deputies and the Thurston County coroner are investigation the death of a man in the Melody Pines Estates mobile park on Old Highway 99 south of Tumwater.

Bail on Monday was set at $1 million for Shane D. Brewer, the man accused of killing a 45-year-old man at his home off Old Highway 99 just before Christmas.

That man was later identified as Loren VerValen, who died of multiple gunshot wounds fired from a .223 rifle, charging documents say.

Thurston County Superior Court Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax found probable cause for second-degree murder, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, and first-degree burglary while armed with a firearm during Brewer’s preliminary appearance on Monday.

The state argued that bail be denied to Brewer, saying that he is alleged to have killed VerValen and stolen firearms and that he hid in the bushes before being taken into custody.

Public defender Christian Cabrera countered with bail of $100,000, saying that Brewer is a longtime Washington state resident who is employed, married and has children. He also has no prior violent or sexual criminal history, Cabrera said.

Kortokrax settled on $1 million bail. Arraignment is set for Jan. 15.

According to charging documents:

VerValen was found dead by his girlfriend on Dec. 22. An autopsy determined that he had been shot three times.

VerValen’s Ford Mustang was later found at Brewer’s residence on Dec. 27, along with two firearms allegedly stolen from a Big 5 sporting goods store on Dec. 21. One of those firearms was a .223 rifle, according to charging documents.

Thurston County Sheriff’s detectives ultimately tracked down Brewer at his girlfriend’s home by “pinging” his cell phone. They allegedly found another stolen firearm, as well as Brewer, hiding in the bushes.

A K9 was used to locate Brewer, but he allegedly fought with the dog before being taken into custody.

“I was set up,” he said after being arrested.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.

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