Double murder suspect/child rapist claims his roommates were thinking of grooming boys

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TACOMA — A child rapist from California allegedly admitted killing his two roommates in their Spanaway-area home Sunday, telling police he  suspected they were interested in grooming young boys for sex, according to court documents released Monday.

Richard Atkisson, 40, appeared in Pierce County Superior Court Monday.  He was ordered held in the county jail without bail while deputies continue investigating the murders. He is wanted in California on $50,000 arrest warrant for a sex charge, the documents state.


Court documents say Atkisson used a pipe Sunday to beat both Joseph Moisa, 60, a registered sex offender, and Michael Henderson, 20, inside the Spanaway-area home he had shared with them for the past year.

Joseph Moisa.  Photo from California Attorney General's Office

Joseph Moisa. Photo from California Attorney General’s Office

Henderson died after Atkisson allegedly forced him to his knees and continued beating him.  Moisa didn’t die from the beating, according to the documents, so Atkisson used a plastic bag over his head to suffocate him.

“I think it’s honestly pretty sick,” said neighbor Tomica Powell.

Atkisson is also listed in the California database of sex offenders, as having been convicted of raping  a person under the age of 14.  Sources told Q13 FOX News he admitted to detectives that he had raped a young girl for which he served time in prison.

According to court documents, Atkisson told detectives he killed the two after they tried to get him to bring his son to Washington from California.

Tomica Powell and her husband both know the suspect. Jeremy Powell said he would come over to the mobile home where Atkisson lived to get tattoos.

“I knew him good enough to where I thought he was a good guy,” said Jeremy Powell.

Police discovered the gruesome scene early Sunday morning during a sex-offender registry check on Moisa. Instead, officers found two men dead, covered in blood.

“Honestly, I honestly thought he just went crazy, snapped, and decided to go after the old man because of drugs or something like that,” said Tomica Powell.

What’s even more troubling is that Atkission allegedly told police he killed his roommates because he believed they were grooming young boys.

“That’s a whole other story,” said Tomica Powell.

Sunday afternoon, Tacoma police found Atkisson near 96th and Pacific in a car associated with the home where the bodies were found. Atkisson was arrested at that time.


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