Tuesday, January 3, 2012
WALLA WALLA -- Extradition is pending for the suspect in last week's homicide west of Milton-Freewater.
At a hearing this morning in Walla Walla County Superior Court, George W. Craigen asked to speak to an attorney before agreeing to return to Umatilla County to face prosecution. Judge Donald W. Schacht appointed local lawyer Richard Wernette to advise Craigen on the matter.
Craigen, 49, is being held on five Umatilla County bench warrants alleging he failed to appear at a pretrial conference hearing Friday on a number of pending cases, most related to firearms possession. Total bail on the warrants was set at more than $2 million.
This morning, Schacht told Craigen there apparently also is a pending murder charge against him in Umatilla County. However, Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle said in an interview he hadn't seen a warrant related to the homicide.
Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus wasn't available this morning to provide further information.
Craigen was apprehended Sunday afternoon in Walla Walla. Officials said he was a passenger in a pickup law enforcement pulled over at the PDQ Food Mart, 506 S. Ninth Ave., after receiving tips he was inside.
Craigen is suspected of gunning down Cecil "Rob" Carter, 58, at Carter's business next to his home at 52856 Stephens Road about 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Craigen lived on property next to Carter's, and reports have surfaced that he blamed Carter for his arrest in May on outstanding warrants and for helping Craigen's girlfriend escape with his child.
Craigen was released from the Umatilla County Jail after posting a bail bond Nov. 6 on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Meanwhile, the man allegedly driving the pickup Craigen was in when he was apprehended had his first appearance this morning in Walla Walla County Superior Court.
Jason T. Stiller, 41, of 85205 Highway 339, Milton-Freewater, is being held on investigation of first-degree rendering criminal assistance to Craigen and driving under the influence.
Stiller was intoxicated when he was pulled over and admitted having drunk "liquor, whiskey," according to a report by a Walla Walla County sheriff's deputy presented in court.
"I asked Mr. Stiller who the passenger of the vehicle was. He stated the passenger's name was 'a**hole' and began laughing. He then advised the passenger's name was 'George,'" the deputy's report says.
Schacht set bail for Stiller -- who reportedly has one prior, drug-related felony dating back 16 years -- at $25,000.Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.