Pierce County deputies face charges of perjury

Two Pierce County sheriff's deputies are charged with first-degree perjury for allegedly lying under oath about the circumstances of a gun seizure earlier this year.

Jeffery Ray Montgomery, 34, and Rex Alan McNicol, 47, are expected in Superior Court on Aug. 5 for arraignment.

Sheriff Paul Pastor put the deputies on paid administrative leave in late May or early June when the allegations came to light.

He changed that leave to unpaid Monday when the state Attorney General’s Office charged Montgomery and McNicol each with a single felony count, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

McNicol’s attorney, Clifford Morey, said his client intends to fight the charge.

“I believe the charge is totally unfounded,” Morey said. “He was trying to do his job and was telling the truth on the witness stand.”

Efforts to reach Montgomery and his attorney were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The department hired both men in 2006.

Assistant Attorney General Melanie Tratnik wrote in court documents filed Monday that the deputies lied from the witness stand March 16 when testifying about their seizure of a rifle from an Orting man’s home in January.

Dispatchers sent the deputies to the house to check the welfare of a 12-year-old boy who lived there. The boy called 911 to report his mother and her boyfriend were drug addicts and that the boyfriend had a gun hidden in a bedroom, court records show.

The boy’s mother later told investigators he was in trouble for bad grades when he placed the call.

Montgomery ran a background check on the man and learned he was a convicted felon prohibited from having a firearm.

When the deputies arrived on the scene, according to a report Montgomery wrote of the incident, he spoke to the boy while McNicol followed the boyfriend inside to retrieve the rifle.

The deputies then arrested the man on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He later was charged with that crime.

The man’s attorney, Kirk “Chip” Mosley of Tukwila, challenged the validity of the seizure, saying the deputies didn’t have a search warrant and hadn’t gotten appropriate consent from the boyfriend to go inside.

Plus, the “tip” they received about the gun was suspect because it came from a disgruntled juvenile.

It all added up to an unconstitutional intrusion into the man’s home, Mosley wrote in court records.

Deputy prosecutor Kawyne Lund disagreed, and Superior Court Judge Rosanne Buckner held a hearing on the matter.

Montgomery and McNicol testified under oath that neither of them entered the home that day. McNicol said the man went inside the house alone to retrieve the gun while the deputies waited outside.

The testimony of the boyfriend and Montgomery’s report contradicted the deputies’ statements, records show.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com