Charges: 2 men beat Sammamish man to death with shovels

SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- Formal murder charges were filed Friday against two young men accused of killing a Sammamish man with shovels.

Kevin D. Patterson, 20, and Christopher Shade, 18, are being held in Abbotsford, B.C. after they allegedly fled to Canada in the victim's BMW following the murder. Investigators used a theft tracking device in the BMW to catch up to the two at an Abbotsford hotel, prosecutors said.

The victim, Richard Bergesen, had met Patterson at his church's request and took him in for what was supposed to be a few months, but lasted a year.

"He would take Patterson to get his hair cut, got Patterson a phone and even paid for Patterson to enroll in classes at Bellevue College," said longtime family friends Chad and Mackenzie Brown. "Richard recently mentioned that he would never give up on Patterson who had become the son he never had."

Mackenzie and her brother Chad knew Bergesen as "Uncle Bergie" -- he celebrated their birthdays and graduations and traveled with them on mission trips and family vacations.

"He had a truly wonderful love for Jesus and he really shared that with people through the church and through his ministry and different things that he would do," said Brown. "He was just always so kind and generous and giving."

One of Chad Browns greatest memories of Bergesen was during a mission trip to South Africa two years ago to help AIDS patients.

"The whole South African trip is something that I'll cherish forever," said Brown. "I'm so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to go there with him."

But police did a welfare check on the home Wednesday morning shortly after getting a 911 call from a friend of Patterson's stating Patterson had just told him on the phone he hit his roommate over the head with a shovel and left him either unconscious or dead. Deputies forced their way into the home to find Bergesen's body on the bedroom floor.

In an interview with King County detectives who made the trip to Abbotsford after the suspects' arrest, Shade said he had just met Patterson about a day before through a mutual friend and that Patterson called him on Tuesday night to come over to help him drug his roommate, steal his money and car and drive to Canada.

Shade claims he took the bus to the home around 11:30 p.m. and was let inside by Patterson who had him wait in his room, according to court documents. Shade said he heard noises coming from Bergesen's room and ran down there to see Patterson beating him with a shovel, according to prosecutors.

Shade admitted he then hit Bergesen "once or twice" with a shovel and helped tie the victim with rope, court documents said. They then showered and put their clothes in a bag in Bergesen's BMW and drove off.

Shade said they searched Google to find a spot where they could sneak across the Canadian border, settling on a dirt road off 9 Mile Road north of Spokane. Then they drove under a barbed wire fence and up to Highway 3 into Abbotsford, stopping for gas, two prepaid Canadian cell phones, clothes and an Apple laptop -- all paid for by the victim's credit card, investigators said.

Patterson told a different story to detectives during his post-arrest interview. He said he asked Shade to come over Tuesday night because Bergesen had made sexual advances toward him, but Patterson said he left the home and returned to find Shade beating Bergesen with a shovel, according to court documents.

Mackenzie said Patterson's story about sexual advances doesn't add up.

"There's no doubt in my mind that's not true," she. "We're the same age as Kevin and growing up with Bergie he was a Father to us so he was around us when we were kids and we never felt uncomfortable."

Patterson admitted he helped tie up Bergesen and stole his wallet, but was forced to do so at knifepoint from Shade. When asked why he didn't try to escape then, Patterson said he was too traumatized from seeing his roommate beaten with a shovel. He denied having involvement in planning the incident or striking Bergesen, court documents said.

Despite their pain, the Brown family forgives Patterson - they said it's what Bergesen would want.

"I think he would want us to be content in this and that's why we feel so much peace even as a family," said Mackenzie. "Yeah, there's moments where it's really hard and the grief is overwhelming but just to know that he is in a better place and that he loved us so much with all his heart."

Prosecutors have asked that Patterson and Shade be held on $2 million bail due to the "senseless brutality of the murder" and that both were an obvious flight risk. Prosecutors also wrote Patterson had an extensive criminal history and had just been sentenced a few days before the murder on a felony burglary charge.

It will be up to Canadian authorities to establish a timeline for Patterson and Shade to be extradited back to King County.