A Thurston County Superior Court commissioner has denied bail for a 37-year-old Olympia woman accused of murdering a Chehalis man whose body was found in a ditch Sunday.
Detectives arrested Rochelle Lee Schneberger on Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Jose Luis Alejo-Tamayo, 37.
Superior Court Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax found probable cause for the allegation and set no bail, saying she could pose a danger to the community and perhaps interfere in the case.
He also noted Schneberger has failed to appear in court 47 times, including 11 times in the last two years. Per a pretrial report, Schneberger has a long, but non-violent, criminal history that dates to 2004.
Kortokrax set bail at $50,000 for another woman accused of helping Schneberger clean and hide a car allegedly connected to the murder. Detectives arrested Olivia Farrar Ingram-Legvold, 30, on Wednesday on suspicion of rendering criminal assistance in the first-degree.
In setting the bail amount, Kortokrax found probable cause for the allegation and said the court cannot be reasonably assured Ingram-Legvold would reappear at court or refrain from interfering in the case.
Ingram-Levgold has a much shorter, non-violent criminal history that dates to 2013, according to a pretrial report. Both women are being held in Thurston County jail, according to jail records.
A probable cause statement, signed by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Jackson, describes law enforcement’s investigation into the alleged murder.
According to the statement, Thurston County deputies arrived in the 2500 block of 12th Avenue Northeast on Sunday after a jogger reported finding a man’s body at 7:49 a.m.
Deputies found the man on the ground with his head in a ditch and his legs partially on the roadway, the statement says. Detectives identified the man as Alejo-Tamayo and observed what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his head.
At the scene, detectives said they found a damaged hat and baggies containing substances that they believed to be methamphetamine and heroin, according to the statement.
Additionally, law enforcement reported finding a note with a woman’s name written on it, $140 in cash and a 9 mm round of ammunition. However, the statement also says they did not find a firearm at the scene.
The next day, an autopsy confirmed Alejo-Tamayo had died from a single gunshot that entered through the back, left side of his head and exited out the front, right side, the statement says. This was consistent with the damage on a hat found at the scene previously, per the statement.
During the investigation, the statement says detectives somehow learned Schneberger and another person owed money to Alejo-Tamayo from a previous drug debt. From there, detectives actively attempted to contact Schneberger and the other person.
On Wednesday, detectives attempted to visit a Martin Way apartment shared by Schneberger and the other person, according to the statement. There, detectives met and talked to Ingram-Legvold, who detectives said explained the connection between Alejo-Tamayo and Schneberger.
Detectives said Ingram-Legvold told them that Alejo-Tamayo took a dog from the apartment where Schneberger and the other person lived because of the debt.
In response, Schneberger, Ingram-Legvold and the other person arranged to meet Alejo-Tamayo at a 7-Eleven store on Martin Way East, according to the statement.
Ingram-Legvold allegedly told detectives all three arrived in different cars, including Schneberger, who drove a white Pontiac G6. Once there, Alejo-Tamayo reportedly entered Schneberger’s car and they went to a location in Tacoma with Ingram-Legvold and the other person following behind in a separate vehicle, the statement claims.
In Tacoma, Alejo-Tamayo returned the dog to the other person who left with Ingram-Legvold, according to the statement. Schneberger allegedly remained with Alejo-Tamayo.
During the interview, Ingram-Legvold allegedly told detectives she had no knowledge of Alejo-Tamayo’s death. After interviewing her, the statement claims detectives somehow learned she had cleaned and painted the interior of Schneberger’s Pontiac G6 after he was killed.
Detectives attempted to contact Ingram-Legvold again at a home at another address, but she was not present, the statement claims. In her absence, the statement says detectives spoke to a resident who they said indicated Ingram-Legvold had a white Pontiac G6 behind the garage.
The car had a tarp over it, hiding it from view, but detectives determined it belonged to Schneberger, according to the statement. Upon closer inspection, detectives reported observing a red stain on the driver’s door handle and a fracture in the passenger’s side windshield.
When Ingram-Legvold returned, detectives detained her and questioned her about the car, the statement says. She allegedly told detectives the other person involved in the meeting drove the car to her place and she moved it behind the garage herself.
The statement claims Ingram-Legvold admitted to draping the car after speaking with detectives earlier, and available surveillance footage confirmed this.
From there, detectives obtained a search warrant for the car. In their search, law enforcement reported finding a fired bullet projectile pinned between the windshield and the dash. They also reported finding fresh black paint on the interior of the passenger side of the car, according to the statement.
Inside the home, the statement claims detectives found a can of black spray paint and a can of Rust-Oleum paint. Furthermore, law enforcement reported finding black spray paint on Ingram-Legvold’s fingers.
Detectives arrested Ingram-Legvold on suspicion of rendering criminal assistance in the first-degree.
Later, the statement says, detectives located the third person who allegedly attended the meeting in Tacoma. Detectives said she told them a similar story about a dog being taken and said she had not driven Schneberger’s Pontiac G6.
A detective contacted Schneberger who they said corroborated the dog theft story. However, Schneberger reportedly said she drove with Alejo-Tamayo around Tacoma for a while after the meeting, making several stops.
During one of the stops, a man Schneberger called “Lorenzo” allegedly entered the car and began to drive it with Alejo-Tamayo in the front passenger seat and Schneberger in the backseat, the statement claims Schneberger said.
Schneberger allegedly told the detective that Lorenzo shot Alejo-Tamayo when he fell asleep, dumped his body on the road and later left her with the car, according to the statement.
However, the statement indicates the detective challenged Schneberger’s account of the murder because they believed Alejo-Tamayo’s gunshot wound and the shattered windshield indicated the gun was fired from the backseat.
After speaking with Schneberger, the statement claims a roommate of Schneberger told detectives of a phone call they overheard between Schneberger and the third person who was allegedly present at the Tacoma meeting.
According to the statement, the roommate allegedly told detectives they overhead Schneberger say the gun was hidden under the passenger seat of the Pontiac G6 and an unnamed “Mexican” wouldn’t be “an issue anymore.”
Detectives arrested Schneberger after learning of the alleged phone call.
Schneberger and Ingram-Legvold are due back in court for separate arraignments on May 11.