4 Craigslist murder suspects behind bars

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on May 6, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Updated Thursday, May 6 at 6:56 PM

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

Clabon Terrel Berniard, 23, turned himself in to authorities at the King County Jail at about 1 p.m. Thursday, according to Det. Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman. Troyer said earlier in the day that Berniard's family indicated he wanted to surrender.

Detectives said just getting Berniard's 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.

Higashi, Reese and Knight are also 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.

Also on Thursday, detectives released photos of what they say is Knight at a pawn shop in San Francisco. Detectives say she was pawning jewelry taken from the Edgewood home.

"This was a whodunit. Nobody had anything the first night" said Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Det. Ed Troyer. He credited the arrests to good police work and tips from the public. "That's what solved this case."

The four are charged with murder, robbery and assault.

Friend of Knight's says she was a different person.

A long-time friend of Amanda Knight says he knew a much different person growing up. Jayson Williams became friends with Knight when they went to Sumner High School.

"She was always the person everyone went to with their problems," said Williams.

Williams said Knight had recently "started hanging out with the wrong people." He says he convinced Knight to turn herself in Tuesday.

"She knew she had to do it," said Williams.

Police have already said they believe one of the two suspects captured in California pulled the trigger that night, killing Sanders. If it wasn't Knight, Williams does not think she should face a murder charge.

"Everyone deserves a fair trial," said Williams, "especially the people that didn't commit the murder."

Suspect's father says court will decide

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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