Father of Marysville Pilchuck shooter sentenced to 2 years

By Rikki King, The Herald

 

SEATTLE — The Tulalip man whose teenage son killed four students and himself at Marysville Pilchuck High School in 2014 was sentenced to two years in federal prison Monday.

Raymond Fryberg, 42, stood up in U.S. District Court and expressed sorrow over the violence his son wreaked using a handgun the elder Fryberg could not legally possess.

Fryberg told U.S. District Judge James Robart he wakes up every day with a broken heart and prays for the young lives lost.

“I am sorry for what my son did,” he said. “ … I don’t condone any of the things my son did. It’s a tragedy.”

A federal jury in September convicted Fryberg of six counts of illegal firearm possession. He was the subject of a 2002 domestic-violence protection order in Tulalip Tribal Court that forbade him from owning guns.

Assistant U.S. attorneys sought roughly three years in prison, the stiffest punishment under sentencing guidelines. Fryberg’s defense attorneys, however, argued the man and his family had suffered enough. They urged two years of probation, with no time behind bars.

An investigation after the Oct. 24, 2014, shootings found the elder Fryberg had repeatedly filled out federal forms while buying 10 different guns and never once answered truthfully that he was disqualified from making such purchases. The defendant’s son used his dad’s illegally acquired .40-caliber handgun to open fire in a high school cafeteria. Before taking his own life, the teen shot five of his friends and relatives. Only Nate Hatch, shot in the jaw, survived.

On Monday Nate’s mother, Denise Hatch, told the court that in the 15 months since the shootings Raymond Fryberg had never apologized, and that lack of apology had divided the community.

Fryberg told Judge Robart that he went to trial on the charges in hopes of preserving his right to own weapons necessary for hunting, which he said is integral to tribal culture.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Fryberg faced a presumed punishment of between 27 and 33 months.

He was not immediately taken into custody Monday.

Trial of school shooter’s father focuses on protection order

By Rikki King, The Herald 

 

SEATTLE — A Tulalip woman on Tuesday testified that, in 2002, she urged her tribal police officer husband to serve a protection order against Raymond Fryberg as soon as possible.

The protection order was for the woman’s sister.

Her late husband, Jesus Echevarria, left home with the documents and came back with the return of service, said the woman, Heather Gobin, 39. The two families lived in the same neighborhood.

A Tulalip tribal court judge also testified Tuesday that he saw the return of service — proof that someone has been served – and could not have taken any action in the 2002 proceedings involving Raymond Fryberg without that paperwork.

Fryberg’s lawyers maintain that he was never served with the protection order and therefore had no way of knowing that he was prohibited from owning firearms.

His trial in U.S. District Court in Seattle this week is focused on whether Fryberg illegally possessed firearms at his home on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. The jury won’t be told that Fryberg’s son, 15-year-old Jaylen, last fall used one of the guns to shoot five of his friends, killing four, before taking his own life in a cafeteria at Marysville Pilchuck High School.

The Frybergs gave police permission to search Jaylen’s room hours after the shootings.

Investigators returned days later with a judge’s permission for a more thorough search. About 200 photos were taken during that search, and some of the images show guns stored throughout the home, including at the foot of the defendant’s bed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Miyake said in his opening statements Tuesday morning.

Fryberg’s lawyer, John Henry Browne, promptly asked for a mistrial. He said even describing the guns would prejudice the jury. He also renewed his request that the trial be moved out of the area because of publicity about the high school shooting.

“I still think we are in a situation where the tragedy at the high school has infected, more or less, this trial,” he said.

Judge James Robart denied both requests, saying the move for a mistrial was “not a sensible argument.” It is clear in the pictures that guns were unsecured, some leaning up against the walls, Robart said. Because the case is about the possession of firearms, the weapons are “clearly relevant,” the judge said.

Fryberg acquired 10 firearms in the years after the protection order, Miyake said. The tribal protection order was never entered into a state database. That meant Fryberg was able to continue to purchase guns and obtain a concealed pistol license despite undergoing background checks.

“The defendant slipped under the screen,” Miyake said.

When police searched the home last year, Fryberg reportedly told an FBI agent that he had been served with the protection order in 2002, but didn’t pay attention to the questions in his background checks to get guns, Miyake said.

The defense maintains Fryberg never was served. Moreover, the background checks and gun purchases — more than a dozen interactions with authorities in all, including tribal hunting trips where his name was checked by game wardens — led Fryberg to believe he was allowed to keep guns, Browne said.

After her sister filed for the protection order, Heather Gobin kept an eye out for Fryberg so he could be served, she said.

She told her husband, the police officer, “It was the most important thing we had to do,” she said.

On Tuesday, she said she recognized her husband’s handwriting on the form that was filed in tribal court. The document said Fryberg had been served.

Fryberg faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on all six counts of illegal possession. He is expected to testify.

Father of Marysville-Pilchuck shooter arrested on gun charge

(Photo: Sketch by Peter Millett)

(Photo: Sketch by Peter Millett)

 

Travis Pittman, KING 5 News

SEATTLE – The gun used by Marsyville-Pilchuck High School shooter Jaylen Fryberg to kill four classmates and himself last year was illegally purchased by his father, according to federal court documents.

Raymond Lee Fryberg, 42, appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon on unlawful possession of firearms.

Raymond Fryberg was under a permanent protection order from Tulalip Tribal Court after Raymond’s then-girlfriend claimed in 2002 that he had threatened and assaulted her.

In 2012, Raymond pleaded no contest after being charged with violating the order and was sentenced to a year of probation.

As part of the protection order, Raymond was not allowed to purchase firearms. But the court documents reveal that he purchased five firearms from a Cabela’s store in Tulalip, Wash., between January 2013 and July 2014. When he purchased the guns, he falsely indicated on the purchasing agreement that he was not under a protection order.

Investigators at the Marysville-Pilchuck shooting on October 24, 2014, later identified the gun that Jaylen Fryberg used – a Baretta PX4 Storm – as the one of the guns Raymond Fryberg purchased.

Jaylen Fryberg, 15, shot and killed his cousin Andrew Fryberg, 15; Gia Soriano, 14; Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14; and Zoe Galasso, 14 inside the school cafeteria. Jaylen also wounded 14-year-old Nate Hatch before turning the gun on himself.

Statement from Marysville superintendent Dr. Becky Berg:

“We are saddened by this morning’s news. Our hearts go out to the victims’ families, our students, staff and community as we continue through the long process of recovery. This is part of an ongoing investigation and all questions related to this matter should be deferred to the FBI.”

Statement from Cabela’s:

“Cabela’s strictly complies with federal, state and local laws regulating the sale of firearms. Cabela’s records indicate the transaction was processed in compliance with applicable regulations, including background checks.”

Statement from Tulalip Tribes Chairman Herman Williams

“The Tulalip Police Department continues to coordinate with federal authorities. It is not our policy to comment on an active investigation and at this time we have no further information to share. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be focused on the victims, their families, and the healing of our communities impacted by the Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting.”

Father of Washington School Shooter Arrested on Gun Charge

By Gene Johnson, The Associated Press

The father of a Washington state high school student who killed four classmates and himself last fall was arrested Tuesday on a federal charge that he was barred from possessing the gun his son used in the shooting.

Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr., 42, faces one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. An FBI agent alleged in a criminal complaint that even though Fryberg was subject to a domestic violence protection order, he purchased five guns from a Cabela’s outdoor recreation store, including the Beretta pistol his son used in the shooting, by lying on a federal form.

Jaylen Fryberg, 15, a well-liked freshman who had recently been a Homecoming prince, inexplicably shot and killed four friends and wounded another last October after inviting them to lunch in the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School north of Seattle.

“Our office has a long history of working with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners across Western Washington to prosecute those who illegally possess firearms,” Annette Hayes, the acting U.S. attorney in Seattle, said in a news release. “This case is part of that effort and a reminder that we are united in our commitment to get firearms out of the hands of those who pose the greatest risk to our communities.”

Fryberg was due to appear in U.S. District Court on Tuesday afternoon. Federal court records did not indicate whether he had a lawyer.

According to the complaint, Fryberg’s then-girlfriend, the mother of one of his children, obtained a protection order against him in Tulalip Tribal Court in 2002, alleging that he had threatened her, slapped her and pulled her hair.

The order became permanent, and in September 2012, Fryberg entered a no-contest plea to a charge that he violated it. He was given a suspended sentence of six months and ordered again to comply with the terms of the order.

Just four months later, Fryberg went to a Cabela’s store on the Tulalip reservation and purchased the Beretta, the complaint said. He answered “no” on a federal form asking if he was subject to a court order restraining him from harassing, stalking or threatening a child or intimate partner, and he answered the same when he filled out forms for the purchase of four other weapons at the store between January 2013 and July 2014, the complaint said.

State Sen. John McCoy, a member of the Tulalip Tribe, said he didn’t know Fryberg had been subject to a restraining order.

“That’s exceptionally troublesome to me,” McCoy said. “It points me to the issue we’ve been arguing about in the state, that people are not going to tell the truth when they fill out the forms to buy a gun, so maybe we should have a registry of people who are subject to these orders. That’ll be more fodder for discussion.”