Tacoma teen claiming to have killed father appears in court

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by JANET KIM and LIZA JAVIER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 11 at 7:16 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- The 16-year-old teen who claimed to have killed his father and buried him in the family's backyard made his first court appearance Wednesday.

According to probable cause court documents, the teen called 911 to say he killed is father with a cane and placed his body in a box in their yard.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner's office determined that the victim, Richard Salzman, died of blunt force injury to the head. The manner of death is homicide.

Investigators searched the acre-and-a-half property on Tuesday and found a body inside a compost bin next to the garage. Oil had been poured into the box, along with what appeared to be cat litter and dirt.

"Based on the evidence in that statement, there certainly is probable cause, and the court has found as well for murder in the second degree," said Kevin Benton, Pierce County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. 

Salzman's wife had filed a missing person's report on Saturday with police after her son said he left the house riding a bicycle and hadn't returned.

Documents reveal the teen told police he was arguing with his father when he got upset and struck his father in the head with a cane, killing him.

According to documents, the teen told his mother about the crime after she planned to put together a search and rescue party for her husband with family members and police.

Another hearing is planned for Friday. If charges of murder in the 2nd degree are filed, the teen will be charged as an adult at that time.

Court documents reveal Richard Salzman's wife had filed for a divorce in August of 2013 and there was a restraining order where Salzman and his wife had to be restrained from one another. 

KING 5's Janet Kim and Liza Javier contributed to this report.

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