PORT ANGELES, Wash. – The Clallam County man accused of murdering his wife and three step-children was in court Wednesday where he was officially charged.
Prosecutors filed four counts of aggravated, first-degree murder and one count of arson charges against Matthew Wetherington in connection to a fire that authorities say was deliberately set at his family’s mobile home last weekend.
The children’s biological father is also sharing his grief over the tremendous loss.
“I drove by there three days before all this happened,” said Jeremy Hutto. “All it would have took is me just driving in there and knocking on the door.”
Hutto is stricken with sorrow – and now he only wishes he could go back in time to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
“Me and my kids used to sit on Saturday mornings, eat ice cream and watch cartoons,” he recalled.
He says legal troubles kept him from seeing his family for approximately two years. He was once in a relationship with 34-year-old Valerie Kambeitz, the mother of three of his five children. Kambeitz and her kids are presumed dead after authorities discovered charred human remains.
Valerie’s new husband, Matthew Wetherington has been implicated in the deaths. Plus, prosecutors he used his position of trust to plan the fire that investigators say he set on purpose early Saturday morning.
“She seemed happy,” said Hutto. “But when you looked in his face or his eyes the gears were turning.”
Investigators continue poring over evidence, including a journal Wetherington allegedly wrote during his crime spree.
Discovering the reason why his three kids were killed, Hutto worries he may never learn.
“Why, what did they do to you?” Hutto said. “They were just starting their life; they were not even 10 yet.”
Wetherington is expected to be back in court later in July for an arraignment. If convicted of the charges filed against him, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.