Man denies aiding suspects in Benton City stabbing

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldSeptember 20, 2013 

A Benton City man arrested for having a murder victim's stolen pistol allegedly let the suspects stay at his house after the fatal stabbing, then arranged a ride for the pair to Oregon.

Tyler Lynn Isom was told about Michael Edwards' death when the suspects returned to his home hours later, yet he did nothing about it and knowingly accepted property taken from the older man's home, prosecutors allege.

Isom, 19, is charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree rendering criminal assistance and possessing a stolen firearm. He has pleaded innocent and faces a Nov. 4 trial.

Benton County sheriff's officials announced earlier this week that Isom was arrested for possessing the stolen gun. But court documents show Isom's alleged role in the killing was more involved.

Edwards, 55, was stabbed several times with a knife and had his throat cut during a robbery in the parking lot of the Assembly of God church in Benton City.

The slaying is believed to have happened about 11:30 p.m. Sept. 8, and eight hours later a neighbor found his body behind a shed on the church property.

Edwards, who was disabled and said to be in constant pain from a bone disease, lived alone not far from the church.

Noah Matlack, 18, and Noel Anthony Gonzalez, 19, have been charged with first-degree murder.

They were arrested late Sept. 9 after a Stanfield, Ore., officer became suspicious on learning they were trying to sell some rare coins while waiting to catch a bus.

Coins and a gun are among the property taken from Edwards' home when it was ransacked after his death.

Gonzalez voluntarily returned to Benton County to face the murder charge, but Matlack remains in the Umatilla County jail in Pendleton and is fighting extradition. A hearing is set Oct. 17.

According to court documents, Isom admitted to Benton County sheriff's detectives that Matlack and Gonzalez were at his home Sept. 8, and Matlack said he was going to stab and rob Edwards.

Matlack and Gonzalez left at 10 p.m., indicating they were going to meet Edwards, and returned about four hours later.

The pair told Isom "that Mr. Matlack stabbed Mr. Edwards to death, then they went to Mr. Edwards' residence and burglarized it," documents said.

Matlack then allegedly gave a .22-caliber Luger semi-automatic pistol and some other items to Isom.

A .22-caliber gun was taken from Edwards' home safe, which was pried open with a buck knife and other knives, court documents said.

The pair stayed at Isom's home until 10 a.m. Sept. 9, when Isom arranged a ride for them to Hermiston with his neighbor, documents said. Matlack and Gonzalez reportedly contributed $40 in gas money.

Prosecutors claim Isom acted with intent to prevent the apprehension of Matlack and Gonzalez. He's been in custody since Sept. 12 after detectives searched his home and recovered some stolen property.

Isom is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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