A Hermiston man is accused of the violent assault that killed a well-known Kennewick musician.
Christopher R. Calvert, 44, was caught driving Clayton “Clay” Wick’s car around 3:00 p.m. Thursday in rural Skamania County, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Kiel during a media briefing on Friday.
Calvert was an acquaintance of Wick’s, police said.
Calvert is believed to have taken the 2012 Honda CRV after killing the man at Wick’s home on Buchanan Street.
According to Kennewick Police, a housekeeper discovered Wick’s body two days earlier. Investigators suspect the 76-year-old, who lives alone, was dead for three to five days before they found his body.
Police said it appears Wick died following a “violent assault and blunt force trauma”. The results of an autopsy conducted on Thursday have not returned, officials said.
Technicians from the Washington State Patrol’s crime lab spent two days documenting and collecting evidence of the “violent encounter,” according to a news release.
Many details about Wick’s death are still being investigated, including the reason for the attack and how they knew each other.
“The motive is not yet fully known,” says the press release.
They were seen together in the house at least once more, Kiel said.
When police began investigating, they noticed Wick’s CRV was missing and believed Calvert stole it, Kiel said. An arrest warrant was issued for him on Tuesday for theft of a car.
Upon further investigation, detectives were able to connect him to the murder investigation, and a judge agreed to issue a statewide $1 million first-degree murder warrant against him.
Police tracked him Thursday to Stevenson, Washington, a small community about an hour east of Vancouver.
The Skamania County Sheriff’s Deputy, along with the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force and Kennewick detectives, found Calvert driving around the area around 3:00 p.m. Thursday.
When police tried to stop him, Calvert sped away and began a five-minute chase that ended when officers forced the car into a ditch in a rural area of Skamania County.
Calvert was arrested and taken back to the Benton County Jail, where he was charged with suspected auto theft and first-degree first degree murder with the aggravating circumstances of invasion of privacy, lack of remorse and excessive injury.
Calvert has a long criminal history, mostly from Oregon, that includes convictions for evading police, possession of meth, and manufacturing a controlled substance.
This story was originally published May 6, 2022 11:32 am.