Alert employee helps nab WA state murder suspects

Amanda Christine Knight, 21, Kiyoshi Alan Higashi, 22, and Joshus Nathaniel Reese, 20, were arrested in Daly City over the weekend in connection with a homicide in Washington State.
May 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
An alert Bay Area employee has helped catch some of the suspects in an out-of-state murder case. It is a case that reminds all of us to be careful when buying or selling things online.

In this case, a man trying to sell a diamond ring on Craigslist ended up getting killed.

Two of the suspects appeared in a Redwood City court for an extradition hearing Wednesday. 22-year-old Kiyoshi Higashi and 20-year-old Joshua Reese both waived extradition and remain in custody at the Redwood City jail, waiting for Washington State authorities to pick them up.

It appears that Reese may possibly have some ties to family in the Bay Area. He broke down when he caught sight of a couple of women inside the courtroom and made a clenched fist signal to them as he left the room.

Higashi and Reese were both very emotional as the judge asked them a series of standard questions. Reese buried his face in his hands and had to take a break before continuing with the hearing. San Mateo County sheriff's deputy Ted Gasior had met with Reese earlier to explain the charges.

"He was very emotional and distraught over the charges," Gasior said. "I talked to him several times and he's aware he's charged with very serious crimes and he's concerned."

Higashi, Reese and a third suspect who surrendered in Washington, Amanda Knight, are charged with first-degree murder, robbery and assault.

Last Thursday, in Pierce County Washington, 43-year-old James Sanders was shot and killed after four people came to his home to look at a diamond ring he had posted on Craigslist. Washington court documents say Sanders and his wife Charlene were tied up, then the couple's 10 and 14-year-old sons were taken downstairs.

"And, I had a gun to the back of my head with a countdown. Three, two... and I was screaming," she recalled. "And, my kids were standing there and I'm like, 'Please God, don't let them kill me. Don't let them kill my kids. Don't let them kill me in front of my kids.'"

Charlene was being kicked in the head when the 14-year-old tried to intervene and was pistol-whipped. That is when James broke free and was shot three times.

"They took my love of my life, my future. They ripped my home apart," Charlene said.

Higashi, Reese and Knight were arrested in Daly City Saturday after a routine traffic stop revealed weapons violations. Knight made bail before a sharp sheriff's department clerk recognized them as the Washington murder suspects in a news story.

"She just happened to come across this news story and put two and two together," Lt. Ray Lunny said.

Charlene Sanders says that in addition to the Craigslist ring, they also took the wedding ring right off her finger. She would like that one back. The other one, she never wants to see again.

Higashi and Reese could be on their way back to Washington as early as Thursday. Late Wednesday, deputies outside Seattle identified the fourth suspect in the murder as 23-year-old Clabon Berniard. There is a warrant for his arrest. Authorities say at this time, there is no reason to believe he is in the Bay Area.

Buying or selling things on Craigslist and other internet sites is usually perfectly safe, but people should still follow a couple of basic rules to protect themselves.

Authorities say people should always insist on meeting the buyer or seller in a public place. When meeting at night, make sure it is in a well-lit public place. Finally, never give out your home address in any ads or over the phone.


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