Four members of a white supremacist prison gang and a female accomplice were arraigned this afternoon in Tacoma, Wash., on charges related to the brutal stabbing death last month of a fellow gang member.
Derek Wagner was stabbed multiple times, including once in the heart, and bled to death after he was confronted with accusations of having a sexual relationship with one of the defendants’ wives and associating with a rival gang, authorities said.
“This is a case of white supremacists killing one of their own,” Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said at midday in announcing the charges. “The victim was murdered for violating the gang’s own code.”
Those charged were Jeffrey Allen Cooke, 32, Melissa Ann Bourgault, 33, Mark Michael Stredicke, 37, Eric Michael Elliser, 33, and Shanne Thomas McKrittrick, 32, all residents of the Tacoma area. They each were arraigned on charges of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the second degree.
Authorities say Bourgault is McKittrick’s girlfriend.
The four male defendants and the victim have ties to the Aryan Skins Kindred (ASK) prison gang, Lindquist said in a prepared statement.
Cooke picked up the victim from a mutual friend’s house in Yelm, Wash., near Tacoma, on Nov. 16 and drove him to Cooke’s home in Tacoma, the statement said. Within three hours, the four other defendants arrived at Cooke’s home.
A short time later, everyone left in multiple vehicles, with Cooke driving the victim to Elliser’s house, “where the group confronted the victim for two violations of their gang’s code of conduct,” the prosecutor said.
“They accused the victim of having an affair with Stredicke’s wife and associating with a rival gang,” Lindquist said.
The victim was stabbed before he ran away, collapsing and bleeding to death in the yard of a nearby residence. Its owner discovered the body the following day and called police.
“Near the victim’s body, police found a Ka Bar knife, which Cooke is known to carry,” the prosecutor said in outlining the probable cause against the defendants.
At autopsy, the Pierce County medical examiner determined Wagner was stabbed three times, including a fatal stab wound to the heart.