By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
OLYMPIA – She used meth. He sold drugs, she said.
She was 25 years old and had been staying with him at his mobile home in Rochester.
Robert J. Maddaus Jr.
Jessica Abear described Nov. 13, 2009 as she answered questions from attorneys in Thurston County Superior Court yesterday.
“I was sleeping on the couch, I remember waking up to the door being kicked in and the people saying ‘freeze’,” she said.
Abear, now 26, recalled thinking it was three, maybe four, people, who ran in and down the hallway, as someone tall held a gun to her head and told her not to move. She vaguely remembers a bandana and sunglasses, she said.
“I remember them – I don’t know if this was because I was coming out of a dead sleep – maybe speaking another language,” she said. “The only thing I did hear in English was ‘I’ve got it’.”
They were in and out really quick.
“I want to say a Mexican accent, but speaking Russian,” she said.
Shaun Allen Peterson
Abear is a witness in the murder trial of Robert J. Maddaus Jr. The 41-year-old Rochester man is charged in the death of Shaun A. Peterson who was found handcuffed and fatally shot on an Olympia street early on Nov. 16, 2009.
Maddaus is charged with first-degree murder, as well as four counts of witness tampering. He was also charged in the same case with attempted kidnapping and second-degree assault of Abear, which allegedly occurred just days before Peterson was killed.
Witnesses testified earlier this week Maddaus was a dealer trying to track down who’d stolen drugs and cash from him in the days before Peterson was slain.
Olympia resident Eric Gripp told the court Maddaus showed up at his fifth-wheel home earlier that weekend holding a gun, and said he’d lost “… four pounds of crystal, a pound of marijuana and $15,000, I think.”
Yesterday, as Abear sat on the witness stand for more than an hour, she described running next door to Maddaus’s mother’s house to tell her he’d just been robbed and to call him. She didn’t know where he was.
She said she returned to the mobile home, and grabbed a can of bear mace.
“Yeah, I was concerned maybe those people would come back and I was concerned how Bobby would feel about it,” she said. “I was afraid he would think I had something to do with it.”
Under questioning, Abear told what happened after Maddaus arrived at his home some 10 minutes later.
“He was pissed,” she said.
Maddaus didn’t believe her story and thought she was protecting someone, she said.
“Yeah, he hit me in the head with the butt of a gun, sprayed me with bear mace, ripped my clothes off and shot me with a paintball gun,” she said. “He acted like he was going to shoot me in the foot. He told me to stick my foot out, saying he was going to get it out of me.”
“Were you afraid?” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Bruneau asked her.
“Yes, very,” she said.
Bruneau elicited that she heard Maddaus’s end of a telephone conversation telling someone he needed a place to take her “to get information.”
When Maddaus headed down the hallway, she ran back to his mother’s house, wearing her pajama shorts, she said.
Testimony from Gripp on Wednesday describes that Abear phoned him, her ex-boyfriend, crying, saying she needed to be picked up.
“She reeked of mace, she was hysterical,” Gripp said. “So everybody in my car kind of got exposed to it.”
They took her to his Olympia home and used milk to neutralize the mace, he said. Gripp said he saw some 30 quarter-sized welts on Abear’s body.
Gripp said it didn’t seem “comfortable” the way Maddaus had paced back and forth outside, talking on a cell phone when Gripp had taken Abear away from the Rochester property, so he told his neighbor, “If anybody shows up, call the cops.”
Within two or three hours, Maddaus, holding a gun, and four other people were knocking on his door, Gripp said.
“He said he was looking for Jessica Abear,” he said.
“He said he’d lost a lot of personal property,” Gripp said. “Yeah, drugs. Then I decided it was okay to let her talk to them.”
Abear told the court Maddaus was less angry, but still thought she set up the robbery and wanted the truth out of her.
The neighbor must have called the police.
“The phone rang, it was the cop,” Abear said. “I handed the phone to Eric, I told everyone, ‘the cops are coming, get out of here’.”
When Thurston County sheriff’s deputy David Claridge arrived, she was in the bedroom area.
Abear said she told him she didn’t want to talk to him.
“I didn’t think it would help,” she said. “I thought it would probably make the situation worse.”
But about two weeks later, Abear did allow a detective to take photos of her injuries and interview her, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Bruneau said yesterday.
“I didn’t really have a choice, they already knew what happened,” she said.
Maddaus was arrested in Chehalis almost two weeks after Peterson’s death, following a high speed pursuit through the Chehalis Industrial Park.
After he was apprehended, a search of the Corvette in which he was a passenger turned up a nine millimeter pistol, more than $35,000 cash and a green backpack which contained two and a half pounds of methamphetamine, nearly a half pound of cocaine and almost one-third pound of heroin, according to charging documents in Thurston County Superior Court.
Maddaus is being held on $2 million bail.
Among the others who have testified in the first two days of Maddaus’s trial are an Olympia police detective, a forensic pathologist and examiners from the Washington State Crime Lab.
Olympia Police Officer Jeff Herbig described arriving to the scene where Peterson’s body was found about 4 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2009.
In the courtroom yesterday, Herbig identified various pieces of evidence he and his co-workers collected there, including a sweatshirt with holes in it laying on the street, a cell phone, and four shell casings.
Crime lab examiner Brenda Lawrence told the court the casings were from approximately 30 caliber bullets.
She identified them as what she called 7.62 x 25′s Tokarves, manufactured in China.
Dr. Eric Kiesel conducted Peterson’s autopsy.
Kiesel described a wound from a projectile that entered Peterson’s neck on his right side and exited the front; a fatal wound, he said.
Another entered his left arm and traveled through his chest before exiting; potentially fatal by itself, he said.
A gun shot wound on Peterson’s left forearm was described as superficial; contributory, he said.
The third injury looks different, because the projectile had either bounced off something or already gone through something, Kiesel said.
He speculated a bullet that exited Peterson’s neck could have struck the forearm that way, if Peterson’s cuffed hands were raised upward.
Charging documents allege Maddaus confronted Peterson about stealing his drugs while they were at an apartment on the 1800 block of Capitol Way Southeast in Olympia on the evening of Nov. 15, 2009 and the following morning.
Matthew Tremblay, who said he was present, said Peterson denied it and the three left the apartment, according to the allegations.
He said Peterson and Maddaus argued and then Maddaus fired about five shots, according to charging documents. Then Maddaus and Tremblay fled in Maddaus’s Jetta, he told authorities.
Maddaus has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is represented by defense attorney Richard Woodrow.
His trial in Thurston County Superior Court in Olympia is expected to resume on Tuesday morning.
• Day one of Maddaus’s trial, here
• Why the first jury pool had to be dismissed, here
• Why Maddaus was convicted of just simple possession in Lewis County last month, here
• How Maddaus refused to testify against Robbie Russell in September, here
• How Russell and Maddaus tried to outrun sheriff’s deputies a week and a half after Peterson’s death, here