Convicted murderer Rick Riffe was sentenced to just shy of 103 years in prison Tuesday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.
More than 50 people, including dozens of family members, friends and supporters of the Maurin and Hadaller families, attended Riffe’s sentencing hearing.
The courtroom benches behind the prosecutor’s table were filled, while the defense’s side of the room was empty except for a few employees from the sheriff’s office and prosecutor’s office. No one from Riffe’s family attended the hearing.
Hazel Oberg and Dennis Hadaller, two of Minnie Maurin’s surviving children, who are now about the age of their mother and stepfather at the time of their murders, both read statements to the nearly-full courtroom.
“This will never be forgotten for generations to come,” Hadaller said, as Bruce Kimsey, the lead detective on the investigation, and Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, positioned on either side of the former county commissioner, each held two, big framed photos of the numerous members of the Hadaller family.
“How could anyone be so cruel and act with such malice to shoot two elderly and trusting people in the back and dump them in the forest?” Hadaller read from his statement.
Hadaller’s sister told the judge that her mother and stepfather gave their children a marvelous upbringing and taught them how to work hard to earn a living.
“It’s been very difficult for me to understand how someone could take their lives for the money,” Oberg said.
Riffe, who was dressed in red jail garb, remained silent and expressionless throughout the hour-long hearing, much like he did throughout the six-week trial. His Seattle-based defense attorney John Crowley, however, vehemently defended his client’s innocence to Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey.
“Rick Riffe makes no apologies to anybody,” Crowley said. “He feels no remorse for something he did not do.”
Crowley said his client will appeal the convictions and sentence, adding that Riffe “considers the entire process to be unfair.” Riffe was convicted on Nov. 18 after a six-week jury trial resulted in guilty verdicts on seven felony counts, including murder, robbery, kidnapping and burglary.
Because the crime occurred in 1985, Riffe was sentenced in accordance with state laws as they were written 28 years ago. Due to a previous law requiring the judge to set down a certain number of years, Riffe could not be sentenced to life in prison.
But as Meyer pointed out, Riffe, 55, will spend the rest of his life in prison, regardless of the sentence imposed.
“It is through his depravity and his acts that Ed and Minnie’s lives were ended on Dec. 19, 1985,” Meyer said. “His acts touched not only the Maurin and Hadaller family but Lewis County and well beyond.”
Riffe abducted 81-year-old Ed and 83-year-old Minnie from their Ethel home, forced them to drive to a bank and withdraw $8,500, and shot them, Meyer said.
Riffe then “discarded them like garbage” out on a logging road, Meyer added.
A passing logger found the bodies five days later on Christmas Eve, which was also the day before Minnie’s 84th birthday.
“The only thing unfair here is that the family had to wait 28 years to have this conversation,” Meyer said.
The prosecutor requested Brosey sentence Riffe to the maximum possible term for each conviction and for the sentences to run consecutively, adding that this was one of the most heinous crimes he has seen in his career.
Brosey agreed with the prosecutor, and sentenced Riffe to a total of just less than 103 years in prison.
The judge said the Maurin homicides were some of the most brutal and heinous crimes to occur in Lewis County.
“All for a lousy $8,500,” Brosey said. “It is appalling.”
When Riffe was escorted out of the courtroom for a final time, several people in the crowded courtroom applauded.
A shout of “Burn in hell!” followed Riffe as he walked out the courtroom door.