News

Accused killer could face death penalty

 

by AMANDA WINTERS

Sequim Gazette

While being formally charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder June 6, Patrick Drum had a small smile on his face and tried to catch glimpses of the audience in Clallam County Superior Court.

 

About 30 people filled the courtroom, which had increased security, as Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly charged Drum with murder, first-degree burglary and unlawful possession of a firearm.

 

Drum, 34, of Sequim, was arrested June 3 following a half-day manhunt up Blue Mountain Road after Jerry Wayne Ray, a 55-year-old resident of Heuhslein Road, was found dead of gunshot wounds. Sequim Police officers would later find Drum’s roommate, Gary Lee Blanton, 28, also dead of gunshot wounds.

 

Investigators believe Drum killed the men because they were both registered sex offenders. An additional sex offender, in Jefferson County, also was targeted by Drum, investigators said. But Drum never made it that far.

 

Judge George Wood decided to hold Drum without bail, noting a risk of flight and a danger to the community. The court later in the week appointed a second attorney, Ronald Ness, to represent Drum along with Port Angeles defense attorney Karen Unger.


‘He planned this’

Drum, shackled and wearing an orange jumpsuit, seemed unaffected when Kelly discussed the possibility of seeking the death penalty.

 

Leslie Blanton, Gary Blanton’s widow, cried in the courtroom while holding her 1-year-old baby as her 2-year-old sat nearby.

 

The next day, Leslie Blanton said she is begging the prosecutor to seek the death penalty.

 

“Patrick made it a point to get close to our family,” she said. “He asked Gary to move out there a week before.”

 

Leslie Blanton said she doesn’t understand how Drum could go to their house to eat, bring them vegetables from Nash’s Organic Farm and play with the children, then turn around and murder their dad.

 

“He planned this out. He went through the process of gaining our trust,” she said. “He sits there in the courtroom and smiles and smirks … he’s proud of what he’s done.”

 

The night her husband was killed, Leslie Blanton tried to call him but Drum answered Gary Blanton’s phone and said Gary Blanton was angry with her and didn’t want to talk. Drum told her the two men were going camping, Leslie Blanton said.

 

A 9-1-1 call made at 9:26 p.m. June 2 plotted in the area of Sequim-Dungeness Way and Collins Road, near the house Drum and Gary Blanton shared. The caller said, “Help, 9-1-1, I’m being shot,” before the line disconnected. Deputies were unable to trace the source to a more specific location or reach anyone upon calling back.

 

Leslie Blanton said her husband was shot 15 times by Drum, slowly, to prolong his suffering.

 

“It was someone he (Gary Blanton) trusted as a friend,” Leslie Blanton said. “My husband died alone with a monster.”

 

Kelly has 30 days after Drum’s June 13 arraignment to file an intent to seek the death penalty. At the June 6 hearing, Kelly said she may ask for more time. She did not answer questions e-mailed to her June 11 regarding the case.

 

The only other option for sentencing if Drum is found guilty would be life in prison without parole.

 

Since 1904, a total of 77 people have been executed in Washington. Only one person from Clallam County, 54-year-old Ralph Carson, executed in 1939, is on that list, according to the state Department of Corrections.

 

Community Events, April 2014

Add an Event
We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Apr 23 edition online now. Browse the archives.