27 years later, man stands trial for murder of elderly Chehalis couple

CHEHALIS, Wash. -- Jury selection began Monday for perhaps the most notorious cold case murder in Lewis County history.

It was Dec. 19, 1985 when Ed and Minnie Maurin, 81 and 83, were abducted from their county home along Highway 12 in Ethel, then taken to a Chehalis bank to withdraw $8,500 before being fatally shot. Their bodies were found five days later on Christmas Eve just outside town on an old logging road.

"Why did they have to take that dreadful step of killing them?" wondered family friend Edna Fund.

So many questions that have gone unanswered for so many years. Fund's parents, now gone, were dear friends with the slain couple.

"There was no joy that Christmas," Fund said. "It was evil time -- evil time for all of us know these sweet people."

County investigators never gave up -- and then new technology, more information and leads finally brought a big break in the case.

In July, deputies flew to Alaska to arrest Rick and John Riffe, who they say abducted, robbed and killed the couple.

"It was a struggle for us," said Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield. "We spent an incredible amount of resources in '85, '86, '87 -- we have known for over 2 decades that John and Rick Riffe have been our primary suspects."

According to police, the brothers left Lewis County in 1987. While Rick Riffe was taken to custody and brought back to Chehalis, deputies learned John had died from a medical condition.

Now an entire community rocked by this case wants to know the truth, nearly three decades later.

"I want to see justice served," Fund said. "I want answers. I want to why you chose this couple."

Jury selection is expected to continue through Tuesday and the trial should be under way by Wednesday.