Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Test results awaited in double homicide, suicide in Pullman

The Associated Press

PULLMAN — Police are awaiting the results of autopsies before concluding who was the killer in a double homicide and suicide, Pullman police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said Monday.

Police have a theory about who did the shooting, but autopsies to be concluded in the next couple of days will provide the final answer, he said. Police also are unsure of the motive for the Saturday deaths.

A former Washington State University honor student was among the three people killed. Peter Zornes, 25, of Oakesdale, Whitman County, graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in neuroscience in the spring of 2003.

"He was an exceptionally wonderful young man," said Margaret Gottschalk, a secretary in the Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy and Pharmacology.

Zornes was found dead alongside Trevor S. Saunders, 29, of Moscow, Idaho, and Louissa A. Thompson, 27, of Pullman, in Thompson's apartment about 7 p.m. Saturday.

Their bodies were in the apartment for about 12 hours before police discovered them.

Saunders is listed in the Idaho Sex Offender Registry as a felon convicted of rape in Latah County in 1996.

No information about Thompson was immediately available.

Police found the bodies at the Statesman Condominiums complex after responding to a request to check on the apartment. Zornes' father, Tom Zornes of Oakesdale, initiated the call when his son didn't return home Saturday.

Police officers went to Thompson's apartment, the last place Zornes was known to be. Zornes did not live there, police said.

Preliminary evidence collected by scientists from the Washington State Patrol Crime Scene Response Team led investigators to believe the deaths were a double homicide and suicide.

A semiautomatic weapon believed to have been used in the shootings was found inside the apartment.

The last murder in Pullman, more than nine years ago, also took place at the Statesman Condominiums. Dorothy Martin, 89, was asphyxiated during a robbery. Bradley Steckman was convicted of second-degree murder in the case and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company


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