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Kirkland man's sentence reduced for killing two teenagers

The man who was convicted of killing a pair of Federal Way teenagers three days before their graduation from Decatur High School had two years cut off his sentence Friday.

According to a report by Q13 Fox News, a King County District Court Judge knocked 24 months off the original 102-month (8 1/2-year) prison sentence of Alexander Peder. The former Kirkland resident was convicted on two counts of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence after killing Decatur seniors Derek King, 18, and Nicholas Hodgins, 18, on June 9, 2010.

The two years were cut off because Peder’s original sentencing included a pair of two-year enhancements for two prior DUI-related convictions. But one of Peder’s DUI’s was deferred to a negligent driving charge and, therefore, not eligible for the 24-month enhancement, according to Q13. The State Supreme Court ruled last year that those deferred DUI sentences could not be used for the enhancements because it violated state law.

Earlier this year, the state Legislature closed that loophole, clarifying that any deferred DUI charge must be included in a defendant’s criminal history, but that does not apply to Peder’s case, according to Q13.

In 1998, Peder had a DUI charge that was amended to negligent driving and his sentence was deferred after he showed proof of completing a DUI victims panel and getting an alcohol evaluation. In 2008, he was arrested for a DUI; this time the charge was amended to reckless endangerment, and Peder was given a two-year suspended sentence.

King, Hodgins and another Decatur student, Anthony Beaver, were driving south on Interstate 5, coming home after a celebration for their high school graduation in Bellevue with several other Decatur seniors. Beaver, who was driving, survived the crash.

Peder, who was also injured in the crash, was taken to Harborview Medical Center, released a few hours later, then arrested and taken to King County Jail.

According to the trooper’s report, Peder had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and “spoke with a thick tongue.” There was alcohol on his breath when he spoke.

Following the accident, state troopers had medics draw blood to test blood-alcohol levels. Toxicology reports showed Peder’s blood alcohol level to be .16 percent. According to the charging papers, there was also a small amount of marijuana and a pipe in his Ford Explorer.

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