Accused Maple Valley murder accomplice could avoid jail time: ‘Nobody is safe if he's out’

A family mourning their sister’s murder says they were blindsided by a King County Judge’s unexpected change of heart to significantly reduce an alleged accomplice’s bail.

Brandon Gerner, charged with the double murder of Robert Riley and Ashley Williams, appeared in the Kent courtroom on Wednesday. Tattoos cover Gerner’s face and arms, inked across his neck is a pistol, beneath it the word "remorseless."

Investigators say he and co-defendant Joshua Jones are part of a white supremacist prison gang. Gerner is being held without bail.

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Family and friends of Ashley Williams find the accusations against Garner appalling. However, it’s the handling of Gerner's alleged accomplice, Joshua Jones, that has ignited outrage. Jones is accused of dumping the victim’s bodies in Maple Valley.

Initially, his bail was set at $1 million.

The state argues he’s a danger to the public. However, after arguments from the defense, Judge Johanna Bender sided with them, stating that there was no allegation of violent behavior in Jones' case. Consequently, the judge reduced Jones' bail to $20,000. If Jones makes bail, he will avoid a jail cell and simply have to remain under house arrest with an ankle monitor.

William’s friend, Deanna Powell, is now raising her two children. She thinks lowering the bail by $980,000 is unjustified.

"The judge’s ruling was ridiculous," argued Powell. "The ankle bracelet does nothing to keep anyone accountable."

The case has further garnered attention due to the alleged involvement of the same individuals in another disturbing incident — a ritualistic horse sacrifice to the Norse god Odin in Pierce County a few months prior.

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On Monday, another horse was found dead, shot in the head, raising suspicions of a potential connection.