John Reed sentenced for murdering his Oso neighbors

VIDEO: Snohomish County man accused of murdering his neighbors sentenced to life

John Reed was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his Oso neighbors in April 2016.

Reed was convicted of first degree aggravated murder for killing Patrick Shunn, and convicted of second degree murder for killing Monique Patenaude.

The married couple lived next door to Reed in Oso and had an ongoing property dispute.

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On Friday, relatives of the victims spoke in court before the sentence was handed down.

Patrick Shunn's uncle, who shares his name, held up a small wooden container of ashes.

"This is all I have left, this is Patrick and Monique together forever," said an emotional Patrick Shunn.

He ended his comments with, "There is no justice for what this individual did. He needs to rot in hell."

Monique Patenaude's sister told the court how kind Patenaude and Shunn were. The day of the Oso quake, she says the couple's first thought was to go check on Reed and his family.

She said they took the family dinners after the slide.

Violet Lindverg told the court Reed shot her sister as she begged for her life, "He still shot her again, and then again. For these cold blooded brutal murders I plead with you, my family pleads with you, to give John Reed life without parole," said Lindverg through her tears.

Reed chose not to speak in court on Friday.

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He never apologized and never took responsibility for his actions.

He plans to file an appeal.

Previous coverage: 

A jury in Snohomish County found John Reed, the man charged with murdering his Oso neighbors, guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Patrick Shunn and guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Monique Patenaude.

Closing arguments were heard in Reed's trial on Tuesday.

The prosecution said Reed planned the killings and executed his neighbors. Prosecutors say both victims feared their neighbor.

The defense said Reed was forced to defend himself when Patenaude and Shunn came after him. Reed claims he grabbed Shunn's gun to shoot Patenaude and Shunn before they could shoot him.

Reed admitted his role in covering up the crime.

The trial lasted three weeks.

Previous coverage: 

John Reed took the stand to testify in his own defense in his murder trial for killing his Oso neighbors.

The courtroom was so crowded the testimony was delayed more than an hour to set up more chairs.

Reed claims he killed Monique Patenaude and Patrick Shunn in self defense, but it wasn't until Friday that jurors heard Reed explain his version of what happened.

Reed's Oso property was damaged in the Oso mudslide. He took advantage of a federal buyout and was only supposed to access the property with special "right of entry" access permit.

On April 11, 2016, after notifying the parks department that he planned to go to his house to get some paperwork, Reed says he was confronted outside his house by Patenaude and Shunn.

Reed told the jury that Patinaude had been drinking and was upset Reed had used their driveway to access his property.

He said the confrontation escalated to the point that Patenaude tried to punch him. When he told Shunn he shouldn't let

"I said, 'Patrick you should know better than to let some drunken idiot be calling all the shots,'"recalled Reed. He said that angered Patenaude so much she went to get a pistol out of her Jeep.  He said Shunn also grabbed his gun out of his holster.

Reed said he was cornered, so he ran at Shunn to try to knock the gun out of his hand. He said the gun fired once, almost hitting him. As they struggled over the gun, he said Patenaude ran toward them with her pistol pointed at him.

"I was able to maneuver the gun, pointing in her direction. As soon as I could I squeezed off like three shots," said Reed, using hand motions to demonstrate. "Rapid fire, bam bam bam, she was coming - I seen the last shot that hit her in the top of the head."

Reeds says the gun flew out of her hand. As Shunn reached for it, Reed says he used Shunn's gun and killed him.

"I took the gun and went right over like that, and shot him," said Reed,"I just did it as fast as I could. I knew if he got that other gun, I didn't want to have a shootout with him. He's a way better shot that me."

Reed says he thought about calling the police, but didn't know what to say. That's when he called his brother and started to work on the cover-up.

He also testified it turned out Patenaude's pistol didn't have any ammunition.

During his cross-examination Friday afternoon, Reed took responsibility for the cover-up.  Investigators say he ditched the couples' SUVs, buried their bodies, and hid their cell phones.

Reed said he should have called police right after the shooting.

"If I had it to do over again, I would, I don't know why,  I screwed up. I was panicking," said Reed, "If I had it to do over I would definitely call the cops."

The prosecutor worked quickly to try to poke holes in Reed's testimony.

He said if it was self-defense, why did he destroy all of the evidence that could prove it?

The murder weapon was not recovered by detectives.  Prosecutors are convinced the gun belonged to Reed.

If Reed is convicted of two counts of aggravated murder,  he'll be sentenced to life in prison.  The prosecutor decided not to seek the death penalty.

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