A 61-year-old man is killed on his early morning drive to work – Ronald Whitehead

Background

Ronald Alan Whitehead was born on May 27, 1943. Ronald had lived in King County, Washington his whole life, and had worked at the same company for 42 years.

Ronald, or Ron, was described as a loving husband, father, and step-father. He was a quiet and dedicated family man, and a mentor to many.

Ronald Whitehead

A Typical Day

In the early morning hours of March 18, 2005, a man named Don Engstrom called 911. He had reported seeing a man being pushed out of a black Mustang, and heard 3 gunshots. The car then drove off leaving the man in the busy intersection.

The police were able to identify their victim as Ronald Whitehead from his drivers license. He had been shot in the head, and three more times in the back. There were 3 shell casings near his body with the stamp 9-18 MAK.

The testing from the shell casings determined that the killer had used a .9mm Makarov. Makarov is a brand of European pistols.

The police were also able to determine that Ronald had been shot once in the head, and that the killer had been in the backseat of his car. Ronald was then pushed out of the car, and shot 3 more times in the back.

The eyewitness, Don, told the police that he saw a foot kick Ronald out of the car. He didn’t see the driver, but watched the car make a sharp right turn.

The Family

The police went to Ronald’s home to notify his family. While at the house, they met his wife, Velma, his step-son, Jon Ogden, and his daughter, Kimberly.

They were all clearly devastated about his death. Velma was inconsolable, and Jon was puking into a trash can.

Velma said it was a typical day, and Ronald got ready for work as usual. Velma said she kissed Ronald goodbye, and watched him drive away.

Kimberly didn’t think that her dad would pick up a hitchhiker, but said he was very helpful, and maybe saw someone that needed help.

The police weren’t only looking for Ronald’s missing car, but also his cell phone. They asked Velma if Ronald had left it at home. She said he always had it with him, and would charge it before and after work.

The Mustang

The police filed an emergency request for Ronald’s phone records and GPS. They were able to get the latitude and longitude coordinates of where Ronald’s car was. It was found in the parking lot of a assistant living facility near a dumpster.

The police interviewed several employees from inside. One employee said she usually parked near the dumpster in the back. On March 18, she said saw a small man in a dark hooded sweatshirt sitting in the car. The man then got out, and walked away from it. The employee was able to tell them that she arrived at work around 5:53am. The 911 call had been placed at 5:44am, just 9 minutes earlier.

The car was put on surveillance for a few hours, but was eventually impounded and brought in for testing. Ronald’s fingerprints were found, as well as some prints from his family members.

A Makarov shell casing and bullet was found in the car. It was compared to the other 3 casings found at the scene. All 4 casings had all been fired from the same gun.

Ronald had been shot from the backseat of his car before he was pushed out of the car. Due to the trajectory of the bullet, the police believed that the killer was left-handed. The shot to Ronald’s head had entered through his skull and exited the right temple.

A New Theory

At first, the police thought that the murder was the result of a carjacking. They soon changed their minds.

The police did a background check on Ronald. They learned that he had several guns registered to him, and two of these guns were Makarovs. The police asked Velma to collect Ronald’s guns from their home. Velma did recover one Makarov pistol, and brought in just the box to the other one.

The police received a phone call from the Whitehead’s neighbors. Their kids had told them that Jon Ogden had showed them a gun just 2 days before Ronald’s murder.

Velma and Jon were both asked to go to the station for interviews. Velma was asked about her marriage to Ronald. Velma said they had a good marriage, but were about $75,000 in debt. The police asked her if either one of them were having an affair, but she said no.

The police asked Jon about his relationship with Ronald. Jon said Ronald was the only father he had known. Kimberly, who was Ronald’s daughter from a previous relationship, said Ronald had been in Jon’s life since he was 1. She said Ronald and Jon liked to fix cars, and Ronald would help Jon with his school work.

Jon was asked why he was seen with a gun 2 days before his step-dad was killed. At first, he denied it. But, he did admit to having a Makarov gun in his possession.

The Evidence

The records from the Whitehead family computer were searched. The records showed that someone, later revealed to be Jon, had been on makarov.com, and was attempting to buy ammunition. Jon had also visited his personal web pages in between looking at Makarov bullets.

The police also learned that Velma was having an affair, and had lied to them. Velma had been having an affair with a co-worker. Velma’s co-workers told the police that Velma and this man didn’t try to keep their affair a secret, and would flirt and give each other gifts.

The police dissembled Ronald’s car, and went over photos from the day Ronald’s car was brought in. In one photo, the backseat had been down. They determined that the killer had been hiding in the trunk, and had crawled through to the backseat. (That is a terrifying thought, to think someone could be in your damn backseat). In the trunk, the police lifted a palm print. It didn’t match anyone in Ronald’s family.

The police obtained the phone records from Ronald’s family. In the phone records, there was a call to the Whitehead home on March 18 at 12:13am. There were also calls made from Jon’s old cell phone to Jon’s new cell phone. There were also 53 messages sent between the two phones.

Jon had purchased a new cell phone, but Velma had added more minutes to his old phone on March 16. Velma had used the computer to log into her account to add the minutes.

The phone had also been in contact with two other numbers. The phone numbers were from two students at Mt. Rainer High School, where Jon went to school. One student told the police that the person who had helped Jon was most likely his friend, Wilson Sayachack.

The police also learned that Jon and Velma had been making plans to leave the state of Washington.

The Murder Plot

On June 22, 2006, the police went to Wilson’s house. He was a known gang member, and lived about a block away from where Ronald’s car was found. A cadaver dog had been used to track the scent of the killer back in March. The dog had led the police to the direction of Wilson’s house, but eventually lost the sent.

Wilson was tracked down, and had been in custody in June 2006, for an unrelated weapons charge. Wilson’s palm print was a match to the one found in Ronald’s trunk.

The police knew they had their shooter when the palm print was found, and when Wilson signed a form they gave him with his left hand.

Wilson denied being involved in the murder. But, he did admit that Jon gave him old cell phone, so they could communicate about car parts. The police decided to stop the interview, and wanted to bring Jon and Velma in again.

Jon refused to talk, so he was released. Velma said that she knew Jon was involved, but didn’t know how deep. Velma was also allowed to leave, and was followed to a nearby 7-Eleven to meet Jon. Jon was arrested, and asked to speak to his mom. The police said no.

Jon admitted to the police that Velma wanted a divorce from Ronald without actually getting a divorce. Jon said he recruited Wilson to be the shooter.

Wilson’s Story

The police brought Wilson back into the station. This time, they used a ruse by telling him that they knew that Jon and Velma had used him as a pawn. They even said that he was their bitch.

Wilson said he was in it for the money. He was promised $1,000 and car parts. Wilson said he was at Jon’s house on March 18. Wilson said he and Jon were searching the internet until 3:18am, when Ronald started getting ready for work.

Wilson said the phones were used to communicate about what Ron was doing. Wilson was hiding in the garage, and was told to hide in the trunk of the mustang. Wilson said Velma even handed him gloves, which he didn’t wear.

Wilson said he hid in the trunk for about 2 miles, crawled out of the trunk into the backseat, and shot Ronald. While he was describing how he shot Ronald, he stood behind one of the detectives to demonstrate.

At 5:44am, Wilson called Jon to tell him it was done. He then ditched the car, and walked home.

Wilson Sayachack and Jon Ogden were arrested and charged with murder. Velma was also arrested at the station. The police had used a ruse, and called Velma to tell her she could pick Jon at the station.

A search warrant was obtained for Wilson’s home. Inside, they found a spare magazine for a Makarov, ammunition and a gray sweatshirt that Wilson was wearing on March 18.

The Convictions

Wilson’s first trial ended in a hung jury. His 2nd trial in April 2008 ended the same way because the murder weapon had been found in another county. Before his 3rd trial, Wilson was speaking in Laotion to his mom from jail, and had admitted to the murder.

Wilson eventually pled guilty to first degree murder. He was sentenced to 25 years.

Jon Ogden

 

Velma Ogden-Whithead

FINAL THOUGHTS

The motive was greed. Instead of just getting a divorce, Velma used two 16-year-olds, one of which was her son, to kill Ronald. I can’t imagine the thought that was going through Ronald’s mind before he was killed. I would shit myself if I saw or heard someone in my backseat. Ronald had no idea that his life would end that day, or that his wife was the mastermind.

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