Two plead to assisting suspected murderer

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — Two people pleaded guilty to helping suspected double-killer John F. Loring, instead of contacting authorities before Loring died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Feb. 22, 2012, in an apartment bathroom.

Tami Michelle Petersen, 41, of Sequim pleaded guilty Jan. 24 in Clallam County Superior Court to first-degree felony rendering criminal assistance, second-degree theft and three counts of forgery.

Judge Erik Rohrer sentenced her to 90 days, with 60 days converted to home detention and 30 days converted to 240 hours of community service, and ordered her to pay $500 to the crime victims fund.

Thomas Lee Dale, 39, of Sequim — with the same address as Petersen’s — pleaded guilty Dec. 19 to felony rendering criminal assistance.

Judge S. Brooke Taylor sentenced Dale to 45 days with credit for 45 days served and to six months of community custody, and ordered him to pay $500 to the crime victims fund.

A Feb. 22 restitution hearing for Dale was canceled and has not been rescheduled, according to court records. A restitution hearing for Petersen has not been scheduled.

Neither remained in the Clallam County jail as
of Friday.

Authorities said Loring, 45, was homeless and living in his truck when he was suspected of killing Ray J. Varney, 68, of Diamond Point at Varney’s Fleming Road home as early as Feb. 16, 2012, and lived there for three or four days afterward.

They believed Loring stole Varney’s truck and drove to the home of David J. Randle, 19, on Woodcock Road and shot Randle to death.

Port Angeles lawyer Ralph Anderson, representing Dale, said in an email that Dale was threatened by Loring and would have gone to trial on a “duress” defense.

“The state offered the first [-time] offender waiver and credit for time served, and Tom accepted that,” Anderson said.

Port Townsend lawyer Michael Haas, representing Petersen, said the risk and cost of Petersen going to trial were too great.

“It was strictly a risk-benefit analysis, which is unfortunate,” Haas said Monday. “We were able to go with a first-time-offender option,” he said.

“The prosecution made a reasonable offer, and we accepted it.”

Here’s the account of Petersen’s and Dale’s involvement in the events surrounding the shootings, according to probable-cause statements contained in their court files:

Loring arrived at the home of Petersen and Dale at about 10:20 a.m. Feb. 21, 2012, driving a white pickup truck that belonged to Varney.

A short time later, Petersen received a phone call from a person who told her Loring was involved in a shooting. The same person called at about noon to say Loring had shot and killed Randle.

Petersen told Dale and Loring what she had learned and told them to leave the property.

Dale drove Loring to Port Angeles in another vehicle, while Petersen stayed with Varney’s truck at her residence and made no attempt to contact authorities to report the whereabouts of the vehicle or Loring.

When Dale returned from Port Angeles, he and Petersen moved the truck to a rural area about 3 miles south of the home.

Loring would shoot himself at about noon the following day with a handgun after law enforcement personnel lobbed tear gas into the Evergreen Court Apartments in west Port Angeles.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at

Last modified: April 01. 2013 6:50PM
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