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Suspect in deaths of Decatur students pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide
The man who allegedly killed two Decatur High School students while driving drunk, pled not guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide Wednesday at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
The families of Derek King and Nicholas Hodgins, the two high school seniors who were killed, looked on while Alexander Peder, 50, entered his not-guilty plea at his early morning arraignment.
Also in attendance were some of Anthony Beaver’s family. Beaver, who survived the crash, did not attend. His father, Lance, thought it would be too emotional. However, Lance Beaver said that his son will most likely attend the rest of the court hearings in the future.
The room was quiet for the most part. But as Peder stood in front of the judge, a few family members cried softly and as it was announced he was pleading not guilty, a shout of “Oh my god,” rose up from the benches.
“It was like he reached inside my stomach and pulled out my whole insides,” Lance Beaver said of hearing the not guilty plea.
Peder is still in custody, being held on $1 million bail. The defense has the option of going back for a bail hearing on either June 30 or July 7. A case-setting hearing is also set for July 7 in Kent.
The family was mostly silent as they filed out of the courtroom, simply holding up a photo as they walked out.
Lance Beaver, who at the bail hearing had shouted at Peder through the glass, said he planned on attending all the court dates, to remind Peder what he had taken away.
“He needs to see what he did,” Lance Beaver said. “This is a community he disrupted, an entire community and he needs to realize it.”
Lance Beaver said the families of the two young men killed were just taking it day-to-day but that they were being very supportive of his son, Anthony.
“They’re living day-to-day, trying to come up with a new day-to-day,” Lance Beaver said.
Lance stated that he and Anthony, along with the King and Hodgins families, are working toward getting the laws about DUIs changed and that is now Anthony’s focus, along with healing.