One of the suspects in the Nov. 10 shooting of an Oak Harbor teenager allegedly borrowed a gun from a friend the day before.
The new detail about the case was contained in a supplemental police report that was introduced at a hearing in Island County Superior Court on Monday. The four murder suspects were arraigned separately, although they are all co-defendants in the single case.
Derek Reeder, 16, Kitana Hernandez, 19, Brian Rayford, 20, and David Nunez, Jr., 19, each pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder with a special firearms allegation and conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.
The four Oak Harbor residents are accused in the murder of 17-year-old North Whidbey resident John “Jay” Johnson, allegedly because Nunez was upset with him over a $400 impound fee. The four suspects drove to Johnson’s house on the night of Nov. 10, Rayford and Reeder walked together to his door and Rayford shot Johnson in the head, according to the police report.
A family friend found Johnson hours later. He never regained consciousness and passed away at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The supplemental report, written by Detective Ed Wallace with the Island County Sheriff’s Office, was based on a string of text messages he found on Nunez’s cell phone.
Nunez texted the other man on Nov. 9, writing that someone was “out to get him” and he needed “a toolie,” which Wallace identifies as a slang term for a gun.
The detective tracked down the other man, who admitted to providing Nunez with “a black Phoenix arms .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol,” the report states. The man said that Nunez claimed he needed the gun to protect himself from someone he had a “beef” with.
Wallace said detectives haven’t recovered the gun. The suspects got rid of it after the shooting by throwing it into the water, his report states.
A spent .22-caliber shell was located at the scene of the shooting, the police report states.
Monday, Reeder was arraigned first. The young man appeared miserable and shook his head as the judge read the charges against him.
Hernandez appeared nervous and repeatedly smiled at her attorney. Rayford and Nunez had little reaction to being brought before the judge.
Judge Vickie Churchill briefly recessed court after Nunez’s attorney, Jon Ostland of Anacortes, objected to a Whidbey News Group reporter taking photos of the murder suspects.
He said he was concerned that witnesses’ ability to identify suspects might become an issue in the trial and that a newspaper photo could compromise his client; he had no specific reason to suspect that, he said, but he hadn’t received all the police reports yet.
Churchill ruled that the suspects could not be photographed during the hearing.
It was the first time in memory that media photography has been censored in Island County Superior Court, according to several law-and-justice officials and reporters. Both newspaper and TV media have photographed and videotaped defendants at arraignments and other hearings over the years.
A rule governing courtrooms states that “open access is presumed; limitations on access must be supported by reasons found by the judge to be sufficiently compelling to outweigh that presumption.”