Deputies deny they lied

Two Pierce County sheriffs deputies pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges they lied under oath about the circumstances of a gun seizure.

Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan released Jeffery Ray Montgomery, 34, and Rex Alan McNicol, 47, on their personal recognizance after their arraignments. Both are charged with a single count of first-degree perjury. They intend to go to trial to clear their names, their attorneys have said.

Hogan required the men to report to the jail to be photographed and fingerprinted, which both did after the hearing.

Assistant Attorney General Melanie Tratnik charged Montgomery and McNicol last month.

Tratnik wrote in court documents 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, 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 gained appropriate consent from the boyfriend to go inside.

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.

Buckner later ordered the gun charge dismissed after ruling the seizure improper, and sheriff’s detectives launched an investigation into the matter.

Both deputies are on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the criminal case.