A salesman from Hall-Copeland Ford in Lewiston, Idaho, was kidnapped and murdered during a test drive April 18.
Lewiston police said Walter Weischedel shot salesman Peter Stucky, 60, in the head during a demonstration drive of a 1999 Ford F-350 truck. According to police, Weischedel and his wife, Stacy, then drove the truck into Washington state, where Stucky died. They dumped Stucky's body in Montana, police said.
Although the couple did not give Hall-Copeland Ford their identification before the test drive, the Weischedels were considered suspects because they were wanted in connection with a stolen motor home they left behind in Lewiston, Police Lt. Alan Johnson said.
Police found the Weischedels in Montana and arrested them April 20.
The Weischedels, who led the police to Stucky's body, are expected to plead guilty to a federal charge of kidnapping that led to a death. In return, prosecutors have agreed not to request the death penalty. The Weischedels instead will accept prison terms of life without parole, police said.
Tony Copeland, co-owner of Hall-Copeland Ford, said the incident was unavoidable. 'The best way we could've prevented that was not to open that day,' he said.
Hall-Copeland does take some precautions regarding test drives. Copeland said salespeople sign out before the rides and usually take predetermined routes. Sometimes they ask customers for their driver's licenses.
Making a photocopy of a customer's license before a test drive is common among dealerships, said Denise Patton-Pace, executive director of communications and public relations for the National Automobile Dealers Association. But 'it's up to the individual dealership as to what their procedures are for test drives,' she said.
Police believe Walter Weischedel shot Stucky on Lewiston Hill just outside the city. Johnson said Hall-Copeland salespeople use the hill to demonstrate trucks.
Lewiston Police Capt. Paul Ayers said the case is unusual for Lewiston and the Northwest in general, and agreed there was little the dealership or Stucky could have done.
'It just appears from the information we have, (Stucky) was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,' he said.
Stucky had been a salesman at Hall-Copeland since 1981. He sold about 3,200 vehicles and was the dealership's top salesman during most of those 17 years, Copeland said.
He is survived by his wife, Avis Kay Stucky; daughter, Cheryl Yochum; and son, James Stucky.