The suspect, 40-year-old Richard Atkisson, pleaded not guilty in court Monday on a fugitive warrant out of California. Prosecutors have yet to file charges in the double homicide, but Atkisson is being held without bail for investigation of murder.
A sheriff's deputy found the bodies of the two victims, 20-year-old Michael Henderson and 66-year-old Joseph Moisa, Sunday morning while doing a routine sex offender address check at the Frederickson home.
Detective Sergeant Jerry Bates said a deputy noticed that the door to the home was open, and found the bodies near what looked like a booby trap, or device, made of hazardous materials.
A bomb squad and hazmat team arrived at the home in the 7700 block of 200th Street East shortly after 10 a.m. to inspect the suspicious device and determined it was an inactive electric fence around an old marijuana grow operation.
A vehicle associated with the home was later found by Tacoma police officers near South 96th Street and Pacific Avenue South. Four people, including Atkisson, were initially detained for questioning. Atkisson was eventually arrested and the other three were released.
Prosecutors say Atkisson has since confessed to the murders, and told investigators Moisa and Henderson were grooming boys for sex. Atkisson said Moisa asked about bringing Atkisson's son to the home and that's what triggered the deadly assault, according to court documents.
Atkisson told detectives he first beat Moisa with a pipe, and when Henderson heard the commotion and came into the room, Atkisson forced Henderson to his knees and beat him to death, investigators said. Atkisson added that the when he noticed the pipe didn't kill Moisa, be placed a plastic bag over his head, prosecutors said.
Moisa is a disabled veteran with a Purple Heart, according to investigators.
Atkisson will be back in court on Wednesday for arraignment in the murder cases.