Murder suspect's extradition OK'd

George W. Craigen will be moved to Umatilla County to face charges.

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A man suspected of murdering his neighbor near Milton-Freewater late last year is being moved from the Walla Walla County Jail to Umatilla County to face the charges.

Officials recently obtained a state of Washington governor's warrant commanding the transfer of George W. Craigen, who had refused to waive extradition from Walla Walla County to Oregon following his arrest in the city of Walla Walla more than seven weeks ago.

At an extradition hearing this morning in Walla Walla County Superior Court, the governor's warrant, a transfer request from the state of Oregon and other documents were presented by Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle.

Richard Wernette, Craigen's attorney for the extradition process, told Judge Donald W. Schacht, "I do not have a lawful basis to object, your honor."

Schacht then approved Craigen's transfer, ruling that he is the person charged in Oregon and various documents presented were in proper form.

Craigen -- who appeared in court this morning -- was expected to be moved to the Umatilla County Jail later today. Umatilla County District Attorney Daniel Primus said in a phone interview this morning Craigen could be arraigned in that jurisdiction's Circuit Court on Friday.

Craigen, 49, of 52848 Stephens Road, Milton-Freewater, faces a 12-count grand jury indictment on charges ranging from murder with a firearm to five counts of unlawful possession of a destructive device.

He is accused of gunning down Cecil "Rob" Carter on Dec. 30 at Carter's plumbing contractor business next to Carter's home.

Carter, 58, was pronounced dead a short time later at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

The homicide sparked a massive search of nearby hills for Craigen. But he eluded capture until New Year's Day when a pickup in which he was a passenger was pulled over by law enforcement at the PDQ Food Mart, 506 S. Ninth Ave., in Walla Walla.

Union-Bulletin reporter Luke Hegdal contributed to this report. Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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