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Accused serial killer lured victims by asking them to help dig up buried gold, Washington state prosecutors say

A Washington state man in jail awaiting trial in one murder case has been charged with three more killings, and prosecutors say he lured all four victims by asking them to help dig up buried gold. The victims were carrying large amounts of cash or had recently come into a substantial amount of money, according to court documents.

Richard Bradley Jr., 40, was charged in May 2021 with first-degree murder in the death of 44-year-old Brandi Blake, whose body was found buried in a sprawling park in the town of Auburn, Washington. In the last two weeks, prosecutors have filed three more murder charges against Bradley, The Seattle Times reports, in the shooting deaths of a father and adult son in May 2021 and in the 2019 death of a man whose remains were found near Blake’s grave.

Bradley’s defense attorney, Peter Geisness, did not immediately return voice and email messages on Saturday. Bradley is scheduled to stand trial next month in Blake’s death. He has not yet had the opportunity to enter a plea on the other murder charges, according to online court records.

According to jail records, Bradley is being held at King County Correctional Facility on multiple charges, including murder, arson, unlawful possession of a firearm, identity theft and trafficking in stolen property.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Thomas O’Ban II wrote in court documents that Bradley is accused of using the same scheme in each of the deaths – allegedly telling the victims he needed their help digging up a stash of stolen gold, taking them to a wooded area and killing them before stealing their vehicles and whatever possessions were inside.

Charging documents say Emilio Maturin was 36 when he was last seen alive in July 2019. His girlfriend reported him missing two weeks later.

According to court documents, she told detectives that she overheard Bradley telling Maturin that “he needed help digging up some buried gold in Auburn.” Maturin initially was skeptical, she told detectives, but allegedly went along anyway. Maturin was in the habit of taking large amounts of money with him whenever he left the house, according to the court documents, and he had roughly $15,000 in cash when he left that day in his recently purchased BMW.

The girlfriend tracked Maturin’s cellphone to Game Farm Park in Auburn and went to look for him but got scared and left, according to charging documents.

Several hours later, Auburn police found an unregistered BMW parked near a large field at the park and waited for the driver to return. When they attempted to stop the driver, the car took off. Bradley was arrested after a car and foot chase and charged with eluding police, according to charging documents.

Michael Goeman, 59, and his son Vance Lakey, 31, were shot to death in March 2021, and their bodies were found on an unmaintained road not far from the park. Goeman received a large inheritance just before he and his son were killed, according to court documents.

Bradley was considered a person of interest in the deaths at the time. He was charged that May with second-degree arson after prosecutors said he offered a man $1,000 to set fire to the father and son’s impounded SUV. On Thursday, prosecutors added two counts of second-degree murder.

Brandi Blake’s death

Blake went missing in early May 2021. She had won $20,000 at a casino and, like Maturin, was known to carry large amounts of cash, according to court documents.

Bradley allegedly met with Blake at a hotel in Federal Way — about 25 miles south of Seattle — and told her he needed help selling gold that he had stashed from a robbery, The Federal Way Mirror reported, citing court documents. Bradley’s wife told detectives that Bradley and Blake left the hotel room together, and Bradley later returned by himself, the outlet reported. Bradley allegedly claimed he had dropped off Blake and that she gave him permission to borrow her car, the Mirror reported.

Later that month, investigators found her body in a shallow grave at the park – as well as three human ribs about 30 feet away.

A GoFundMe was launched after Blake’s death to help cover expenses for her memorial service.

“We are devastated at the sudden loss of Brandi Blake,” reads the fundraiser, organized by Lisa Blake. “Her death was unexpected and a total shock for all her friends and her family… We will all miss her beautiful smile and great sense of humor. Brandi was such a kind and caring soul and would give anyone the shirt off her back. She will forever be in our hearts.”

Bradley was charged that same month with killing Blake, who died of blunt force injuries. The ribs were later matched by DNA to Maturin, and Bradley was charged with murder in Maturin’s death on Dec. 5 of this year.

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