Homicide suspects remain held on $5 million bail each

Court dates await Brewer and Hardy, who both pleaded not guilty.

Philip J. Brewer and Christina Joel Hardy, who both pleaded not guilty in the homicide of Mercer Island resident Curtis Engeland, remain held on $5 million bail each at the King County Correctional Facility in downtown Seattle.

The defendants Brewer, 32, and Hardy, 47, have been in custody since March 26 and April 3, respectively, according to communications specialist Noah Haglund of the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. They both gave their pleas at their arraignments on May 6 and April 16, respectively, after being extradited to Washington from Blythe, California, where they were arrested on March 14 in connection with Engeland’s murder.

Prosecuting attorney Leesa Manion charged the suspects with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree identify theft and first-degree theft.

Court documents state that Engeland, 74, was killed on or about Feb. 24. Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) detectives joined a team of law enforcement agencies — including cadaver dogs and handlers — in searching for and recovering the local resident’s body on March 7 in the Grays Harbor County city of Cosmopolis.

The King County Medical Examiner Office’s March 8 autopsy determined Engeland’s death as a homicide from a stab wound to the neck, documents note. He also appeared to have suffered blunt force trauma to his face and was injected with fentanyl.

Casey McNerthney, director of communications of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, informed the Reporter of the defendants’ upcoming hearings and trial dates: Brewer has a scheduled omnibus (pre-trial) hearing on Aug. 22 and a trial date of Oct. 1; and Hardy has an omnibus hearing slated for Sept. 12 and a trial date of Nov. 12. Any continuances to omnibus hearings — which is a common occurrence in all types of cases — would push the trial dates further out.

A previous Reporter story notes that Engeland was last spotted at 6:30 a.m. Feb. 23 in his residential area as noted in a report that his family filed with the police department on Feb. 24. He resided in the 3000 block of 62nd Avenue Southeast. According to a press release, MIPD believes the suspects became acquainted with Engeland several months prior to the homicide, financially defrauded him and then violently confronted him on the late evening of Feb. 23 at his home and used Engeland’s vehicle to exit Mercer Island following the attack.

Court documents note that unauthorized transfers were made on two of Engeland’s bank accounts (about $11,000 total) — about $1,000 was withdrawn from one account and approximately $2,000 was transferred from a checking account into Brewer’s PayPal account.

MIPD initially began investigating Engeland’s disappearance as a missing person case and Washington State Patrol activated a silver alert.