Northwest NEWS

July 27, 1998

Local News

Witnesses say murder suspect's story changed

   SEATTLE--Jurors heard from a suspected double-murderer's fellow bandmembers, friends and co-workers who testified that the Clearview man was high on drugs the night his girlfriend's mother disappeared and expressed puzzling new-found feelings for her afterwards.
   King County prosecutors accuse Gary Dean Ackley, 29, of killing Arlene Jensen of Kingsgate Memorial Day weekend, 1997.
   After a week-long recess, the trial began again July 20 when co-workers from Pacific Tool in Redmond testified that Ackley didn't like Jensen, the grandmother of his two children he had with her daughter Julie Jensen, calling her a variety of names.
   But when he came to work after she disappeared, he was concerned for the 53-year-old Helly Hansen seamstress, a Seattle newspaper reported.
   Last Wednesday, bandmates told jurors that Ackley's story about his whereabouts July 5, when Stephanie Dittrick, 29, of Redmond disappeared, changed.
   Prosecutors say Ackley killed Dittrick after he confessed to her that he had killed Jensen.
   Thursday, Ackley's long-time friend Lan Bidon who lives near Bear Creek Country Club, testified that he and the defendant smoked crystal methamphetamine and marijuana the night Jensen disappeared. He also told jurors that Ackley had changed his story about where he was that night.
   Ackley's attorneys attempted to discredit witnesses, and called a potential new witness in Snohomish County jail who Ackley reportedly confessed the slayings to a "liar."
   The trial continues this Tuesday after a four-day recess over the weekend.