Clallam County prosecuting attorney won’t seek death penalty in double-murder case
Peninsula Daily News
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Kelly said in a statement that she had decided against seeking the death penalty for Patrick Drum during his Aug. 6 trial because she thinks a jury might find reasons for leniency.
Kelly had until a status hearing this Friday to make the decision.
Drum is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths of Jerry W. Ray, 56, and Gary L. Blanton Jr., 28.
Drum allegedly told authorities he was targeting sex offenders. Both Ray and Blanton were registered offenders.
He plans to defend himself at trial, having said in a hearing that he “stood up for a belief, and the attorneys don’t have the same belief that I do.”
He is being held without bail in a segregated Clallam County jail cell after attacking an inmate he was told was a registered sex offender.
Said Kelly in her statement:
“Vigilantism has no part in a civilized society and will not be tolerated by law enforcement or prosecutors in this county.
“I have been appalled by comments suggesting premeditated murder is somehow praiseworthy.
“Anyone taking the law into their own hands in Clallam County will face vigorous investigation and prosecution for any crime they commit.”
However, Kelly said, to decide to seek the death penalty, her office had to determine “that there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances to justify leniency.”
“Based upon the information now in my possession, I have concluded that a jury would likely find mitigating circumstances warranting leniency in the defendant’s life history,” Kelly said.
Kelly said she had reached this conclusion after speaking with members of the Blanton and Ray families and reviewing reports from law enforcement and Drum’s stand-by counsel, appointed attorneys Ronald Ness and Karen Unger.
Drum, a convicted felon, also is charged with first-degree burglary and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Blanton and Ray were shot multiple times, authorities said.
The two men’s bodies were found June 3 inside their homes in Port Angeles and Sequim.
Drum attempted to plead guilty at his June 13 arraignment, but Clallam County Superior Court Judge Ken Williams said that under state statute, he was not allowed to enter a guilty plea.
Drum then pleaded not guilty.
Kelly said in a June 13 interview that in cases in which the death penalty is a possibility, a defendant cannot plead guilty until the prosecution has had the chance to fully decide if “there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances to merit leniency.”
Drum was in and out of jail and prison between July 1998 to March 2009 for charges generated in Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties that included residential burglary, second-degree burglary, tampering with a witness, drug possession, possession of stolen property and unlawful issuance of checks, according to the state Department of Corrections.
Last modified: July 11. 2012 5:07PM