$2 million bail for Craigslist murder suspects

$2 million bail for Craigslist murder suspects »Play Video
Kiyoshi Higashi as he walks into his arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court, May 10, 2010.
TACOMA -- Three suspects in a home-invasion robbery that led to the fatal shooting of an Edgewood man all pleaded not guilty in Pierce County Superior court Monday.

Clabon Berniard, 23, Kiyoshi Higashi, 22, and Joshua Reese, 20, are all facing first-degree murder charges along with various charges of assault, burglary and robbery in the April 28 robbery-turned-homicide at a home in Edgewood.

Police said the group posed as buyers interested in a ring listed for sale on the Craigslist website. Jim Sanders, 43, was killed in the shooting.

Judge Patrick Oishi ordered all three held on $2 million bail.

The fourth suspect, 21-year-old Amanda Knight, pleaded not guilty on Friday and is also being held on $2 million bail.

Higashi and Reese were captured last week during a traffic stop in Daly City, just outside of San Francisco. They waived extradition and were brought back to Tacoma Thursday night.

Berniard surrendered to police in Seattle on Thursday after a nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest.

In an interview Monday, Kiyoski Higashi's father Alan said he wanted to apologize on his son's behalf.

"I know Kiyoshi, he made a big mistake and Jim Sanders, he was a good guy, he didn't deserve to die," Alan Higashi said. "And just wanted to give my sympathetic apology... and wish this never happened."

Alan says he doesn't believe Kiyoshi was the one who pulled the trigger.

"He talked to my other daughter and told her he wasn't the trigger man," Alan Higashi said, adding his son claimed Berniard was the one who shot Sanders.

"Kiyoshi said that he was in the garage when all of the commotion started and when he came out of the garage after the gunshot he saw Mr. Sanders obviously dead on the floor."

But Alan said once they go to court, it'll all come out.

"Regardless of it's Higashi or not, they'll all be found guilty. It doesn't matter who pulled the trigger," Alan Higashi said. "We're talking about 67 years. He'll ultimately leave in a casket."

He says it's tough to put his feelings into words.

"It's hurtful. It's like it's not real but I know it is," he said.

Alan said he went to the memorial for Jim Sanders that was held over the weekend, but stayed in a separate room that had a live video feed.

"I cried, very emotional. I cried for a long time," he said. "It was sad. Very, very sad."

Alan Higashi says he has reached out to the Sanders family through the family pastor, but was told it was too soon right now.

"Mrs. Sanders, it was relayed to one of the relatives... if I'm willing to open up my heart to Jesus then she'll meet me," Alan Higashi said. "I want to open up my heart to Jesus. Jim gave up his life to bring one more person to Jesus. I want my son to also open up his heart."

All four suspects are scheduled to make their next court appearance on June 24.