UPDATE: In open court Friday, Simmons waived his right to refuse extradition, Chief Brad Moericke said. He may arrive in Pierce County to begin the trial process later in the week of May 21, 2013.
The alleged murderer of a California construction worker found slain outside the Sumner Motor Inn in December was arrested in Georgia Wednesday by Dekalb County Sheriff’s deputies.
Quentin Lorenzo Simmons, 29, was detained in his motel room shortly after 2 p.m., after deputies successfully tracked his location through his cell phone.
“(Deputies) spotted him out front of his room, he spotted them and retreated back to his room, and the arrest proceeded from there,” Sumner Police Chief Brad Moericke said.
Law enforcement had previously arrested Elyse Lattimer — a woman believed to be Simmons’ driver on the night of the murder, also known as Elyse Monique Gladue or China Simmons, according to the prosecutor’s charging papers — Thursday after she was discovered at the home of Simmons’ mother. She waived her right to refuse extradition to Washington state for prosecution in Pierce County Superior Court.
Lattimer faces one charge of rendering criminal assistance in the first degree.
Moericke said it was too early to know whether Simmons would waive his right to refuse extradition from Georgia. If he does, it could take 90 days to obtain a Governor’s warrant to bring him to Pierce County for trial, he said.
“We’re very pleased to have reached this resolution for the (victim’s) family and any other victims of this person,” Moericke said.
On May 7, Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Simmons, in absentia, with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree assault in connection to the Dec. 16 shooting of four California men, one of whom died at the scene.
At 12:32 a.m. Dec. 16, 2012, Sumner police were dispatched to a reported shooting at the Sumner Motor Inn. There, they discovered the body of Rigoberto Daza Vargas, 23, and his three surviving companions, John Figueroa, Stanley Figueroa and Felipe Cortez.
Vargas had sustained three gunshot wounds to his torso and one in the neck. Cortez had been shot in both legs, and the Figueroas were shot in their arms and abdomens.
According to the prosecutor’s charging papers, the four construction workers had been staying at the motel for several weeks while they worked on the construction of an area Costco store. On the night of the murder, they were smoking cigarettes outside of their room when a silver sedan drove up and the driver — believed to be Lattimer — asked the men if they knew where she could buy marijuana.
Vargas responded insultingly, reportedly telling the woman, “No b—-, get the f— out of here.”
The vehicle’s passenger — believed to be Simmons — became upset at the belligerent response. John Figueroa attempted to calm the man and explain that Vargas had been drinking, but he refused the explanation and told him “We’re coming back.”
The silver sedan pulled out of the parking lot and drove a short distance away before turning around and returning to the lot. The passenger exited the vehicle with a .45 caliber handgun, shooting Vargas several times before turning the gun on the other three men. After he finished, he returned to the car and the woman drove away.
Police attention was led to Lattimer after an anonymous tipster informed law enforcement the female had recently been involved in a domestic disturbance with her mother. The information narrowed the search for a woman who shared the suspect’s distinctive dyed red hair. A search of Lattimer’s Facebook page turned up a photo of her standing in front of a car that matched the suspect vehicle description.
Police obtained a warrant to trace Lattimer’s cell phone, and logged a pattern of phone calls made from Washington, from Montana, from Texas and finally Georgia, her state of residence.
Friends and family of Lattimer informed police she had recently visited her mother in Washington, accompanied by her boyfriend “Q.” Police used the information, and a photo of Lattimer with her boyfriend, to identify Simmons as a suspect.
A photo montage that included Simmons was shown to two of the surviving shooting victims. One of the victims positively identified Simmons.