Craigslist murder suspects plead not guilty



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Posted on May 10, 2010 at 8:25 AM

Updated Monday, May 10 at 6:24 PM

TACOMA, Wash. - All four suspects have now pleaded not guilty to the murder of an Edgewood man after he posted an ad on Craigslist.

Clabon Berniard, 23; Kiyoshi Higashi, 22; and Joshua Reese, 20, all appeared in Pierce County Superior Court Monday. Amanda Knight, 21, was in court last week. All four also face assault, robbery and burglary charges.

Who pulled the trigger in the April 28 robbery, killing Jim Sanders, is still not clear to investigators. That's partly because police say the suspects are giving them different accounts of what happened. But Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says it really doesn't matter.

"Under the law," said Lindquist, "accomplices are as guilty as the principle."

Higashi's family, who was in the courtroom Monday, says that's not fair.

"He wasn't even in the room when the shooting happened," said one woman.

Jim Sanders and his wife, Charlene, had placed an ad on Craigslist to sell a diamond ring. Charlene said Knight told the family she wanted to buy the ring as a Mother's Day gift. Knight was invited to come to the Sanders home. After she arrived, police said Knight and the three men tied up and robbed Jim and Charlene and their two boys, ages 14 and 10.

Jim was killed while defending his 14-year-old son who was pistol-whipped by one of the attackers.

Charlene attended the arraignments for her husband's accused killers.

"I'm numb right now seeing all of them," she said.