Man's trial in slaying will begin next week

Robert J. Maddaus Jr.'s first-degree murder trial in Thurston County begins next week, but he already has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

Maddaus, 40, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Lewis County Superior court to three drug-possession charges. He was apprehended November 2009 after a pursuit on Rush Road outside Chehalis ended when his red Corvette was spun out by police. Arresting officers reported finding large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in the car.

The car’s driver, Robert “Robbie” Shawn Russell, 46, was sentenced this month to six years in prison in three unrelated criminal cases.

A Washington State Patrol aerial video shows the Corvette stopping for three police cruisers near Maurin Road before speeding away. Maddaus forced Russell to drive away by holding him at knifepoint, according to an incident report.

Maddaus’ murder charge is connected to the shooting death of Shaun A. Peterson, 40, whose handcuffed body was found on Capitol Way in Olympia two weeks before the car chase. He is accused in court papers of shooting and killing Peterson because he was angry over Peterson’s alleged theft of drugs or money, court papers state.

On Jan. 30, a Thurston County Superior Court judge revoked bail for Maddaus after additional criminal charges were filed against him. The charges stemmed from his allegedly trying to tamper with witnesses to develop a false alibi and coerce them to falsely testify.

Maddaus was in jail when he allegedly tried to tamper with witnesses via an intermediary, who also is charged with witness tampering.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Bruneau has called Maddaus a “big-money” drug dealer in the Olympia area.

Maddaus is charged with four counts of witness tampering, in addition to a count of first-degree murder, two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, a count of second-degree assault and a count of second-degree kidnapping.

Staff writer Jeremy Pawloski contributed to this report.