4th Craigslist murder suspect surrenders

Clabon T. Berniard

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by KING Staff

KTVB.COM

Posted on May 6, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Updated Thursday, May 6 at 2:41 PM

TACOMA, Wash. – A nationwide search for the fourth suspect in last week's murder in Edgewood that started with an ad in Craigslist is over.

Detective Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department says 23-year-old Clabon Terrel Berniard of the SeaTac area turned himself in to authorities at the King County Jail at about 1 p.m. Thursday.

Detectives said just getting his name was difficult because the three other suspects in the case – Kiyoshi Higashi, 22; Joshua Reese, 20; and Amanda Knight, 21 – claimed they didn't know his name.

Police believed Berniard has remained in the Puget Sound area.

"We believe as of yesterday that he was here in Western Washington," said Det. Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman. "We hit all the addresses that he was at and we missed him by a few minutes and then, obviously, he knows we're looking for him. Per his family, he wants to turn himself in, but that's per his family and we take that with a grain of salt. That's what we want to happen."

Higashi, Reese and Knight are in custody. Knight pleaded not guilty in Pierce County Superior Court Wednesday. Higashi and Reese have waived extradition from California and will be back in Washington in the coming days.

The group is accused of the April 28 murder of Jim Sanders in his Edgewood home. Police say the group targeted the home after spotting an ad on Craigslist for a ring. Detectives say Sanders was killed while trying to protect his family.

The four are charged with murder, robbery and assault.

Alan Higashi, Kiyoshi's father, tells KING 5 that he doesn't know if his son is innocent or guilty. He admits one of the police sketches of the robbers looks a lot like his son. He says if his son is guilty, it will come out in court.
"I'm sorry for the Sanders family. They have a lot to go through. If my son is found guilty, I'm going to go through a lot myself because he's looking at 67 years, so everybody gets hurt."

Alan was arrested Tuesday for obstruction of justice. He has pleaded not guilty and bailed out of jail Thursday morning. Investigators claim Kiyoshi called his father from jail in California to try to explain what happened in Edgewood. Alan would not comment about that alleged phone call.

Alan also says his son does not know Berniard.

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