The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Brandon Cline
Reporter 

Wishram murder suspect pleads not guilty

 


Michael Matteson, 59, pled not guilty to a second degree murder charge in the killing of Wishram resident Joseph Flock during his arraignment on July 17. Matteson made the plea despite conflicting statements he made to police earlier.

Matteson is alleged of shooting and killing Flock and then pushing him out of his car on June 30. Witnesses found Flock in the middle of a Wishram road, and was later declared dead by paramedics at the scene. Matteson has also been charged with tampering with evidence.

Court documents say that Matteson told Klickitat County Sheriff deputies on July 2 that he saw a person walking down Boulder Drive in Wishram on his way home from a barbeque, where he says he consumed several alcoholic beverages. Matteson says that he stopped to offer the person a ride, but when he realized that the person getting into his vehicle was Flock, he demanded him to get out.

Matteson initially said during the interview with deputies that Flock knocked him unconscious and that he pushed Flock out of his car after regaining consciousness. According to the deputies, Matteson admitted later in the interview that he was never unconscious and that he shot Flock with a Taurus 9mm gun before opening the passenger door and pushing him out of the vehicle. Matteson said that he then used bleach, which deputies found a bottle of at his house, to clean Flock’s blood from his car.

According to court documents, a witness says that they had to hold back Matteson during an argument at the barbeque before Matteson left. The witness then said that Matteson returned to his house roughly 45 minutes later, saying “I shot [Joseph] Flock.” The witness said that Matteson and he decided that Matteson needed to sleep off the alcohol before turning himself in to law enforcement officials.

A second degree murder charge in Washington State is a class A felony. Washington law describes second degree murder as the “intent to cause the death of another person but without premeditation.” Class A felonies carry a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole, and/or a fine.

The trial is tentatively slated to begin on September 6 at the Klickitat County Courthouse. The case will be overseen by newly-elected Superior Court Judge Randall Krog.

 

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