FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2015
Gary Jenkins, Chief of Police
Pullman Police Department
Luden Homicide – Update
PULLMAN – On Saturday, May 30, officers arrested Erik Clifford Luden for Murder 1st Degree in the death of his father, Virgil Clifford Luden. Pullman Officers found Virgil Luden unresponsive after responding to a reported domestic disturbance at 4:48 pm at 960 NE ‘C’ St. CPR efforts by police and paramedics were unsuccessful in reviving the victim. Erik Luden, a 24 year-old resident of the apartment, was booked at the Pullman Police Department and was later transported to the Whitman County Jail after treatment at Pullman Regional Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Virgil “Cliff” Luden is a 58 year-old Sammamish resident.
The Washington State Patrol Crime Scene Response Team responded at the request of Pullman Police investigators to assist with crime scene documentation, evidence collection, and evidence analysis. Investigators were processing the crime scene through late Sunday.
An autopsy that was conducted on Monday, June 1, revealed that the victim died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and neck. There was evidence of multiple blunt force trauma impacts to various locations on the head, as well as evidence of choking and a crushed larynx. Pathologists believe that “multiple” instruments caused the injuries and that there were numerous incapacitating injuries. Investigators believe the victim was struck repeatedly by the suspect’s fists, and possibly a kitchen pot and table knife, both of which were recovered at the scene.
Erik Luden was treated at the hospital for injuries to his hands consistent with being involved in a physical altercation, as well as cuts to his forearm. Although Erik Luden told the dispatcher that his father “attacked” him with a knife, investigators believe the cuts to Erik’s forearm were likely self-inflicted. His bail was set at $500,000 during an appearance in Whitman County Superior Court on Monday. His arraignment is set for Friday, June 5.