Category Archives: Violent Crime Focus

NBC News Show’s ‘Dateline’ Soon to be Kitsap County

Dateline NBC will soon shine a spotlight on one of Bremerton’s most notorious murders.

The news show came to Kitsap for a retrospective look at the killing — and subsequent cover up — of Dawn Hacheney in 1997.

Sue Shultz, Bainbridge police lieutenant who investigated the murder, said that she gave an hour and a half interview to Dateline at her island office earlier this month. Others involved in the investigation also gave interviews, I’m told.

I also got an email from Gregg Olsen, an Olalla author whose new yet to be released book “A Twisted Faith,” chronicles the killing and investigation of Dawn Hackeney’s killer, her husband Nick. Gregg sent me a few photographs from his interview with Dateline, which you can see on the right (Gregg is at the left in the photo).

Nick Hackeney is currently serving a more than 26 year sentence in prison for the murder.

I’ve not yet heard when Dateline plans to run the Kitsap segment.

Lakewood Tragedy: Time for a Change in Criminal Justice Policy?

The front page of Tuesday’s Kitsap Sun presented readers with two stories related to criminal justice: the cutting of corrections officers and Kitsap cops’ response to the tragedy in Lakewood.

I wasn’t alone in wondering this question: How can we be cutting corrections officers — a scaling back of the criminal justice system — just as a man slaughters four police officers execution style?

Today, the Christian Science Monitor’s editorial board cautions against letting anger in this “exceptional” case drive policy decisions.

” … The risk of a high-profile case such as Clemmons’s is that it will bring a backlash leading to a wrong policy,” they wrote. “That it will continue to discourage clemency, for instance, or that it will somehow slow the momentum toward reform.”

Is it time to chance policy in criminal justice — particularly in the way pardons and commutations are doled — in the wake of this tragedy? What do you think?

Jumping off Bremerton’s Bridges is a Crime


Taking the plunge off of Bremerton’s two spans across Port Washington Narrows is well established as a dangerous, life-threatening endeavor. But should you survive it, it could also result in a trip to the clink.

On Monday, an 18-year-old Bothel man was arrested by police for jumping off the Manette Bridge. A 911 caller said he jumped from the “lower part,” of the bridge closer to Manette, just before 5 p.m.

Police found him in a parked car nearby. He looked like the suspected jumper, and, the ultimate evidence: He was “soaking wet,” police said.

The man said he was not suicidal nor injured, just a “thrill seeker,” who’d done similar jumps in Maui, Hawaii recently. Police didn’t appreciate his thrill seeking, and took him to the Kitsap County jail for a relatively unused Bremerton Municipal Code known as “mischief on bridges.” They set his bail at $5,000.

Mischief on bridges, it turns out, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

“It makes sense from a public safety perspective, that we don’t want thrill seekers jumping off our bridges,” said Bremerton Assistant City Attorney Ken Bagwell, who could recall one other case of such mischief. “It’s not safe.”

Here’s how the Bremerton Municipal Code reads, if you’re curious:
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Here’s a Reason to Miss the Rain — Less Crime


The light drizzle came down on many parts of Kitsap this morning was likely met with the sighs of locals. “Mother Nature,” some likely wondered, “can you not spare our precious post-Fourth of July heat wave even for two days?”

And there may be more rain later in the week, too.

And so in anticipation for such summer precipitation, let me give you some reasons why a little drizzle is not worth dreading.

Aside from the obvious plus of summer rain — keeping our forests from burning up — it appears such showers can deter crime.

Rain, it seems, goes a long way in cooling heads. The summer heat can actually move people to commit horrible crimes, according to a recent New York Times story. ” … The prime time for murder is clear: summertime,” the story said. “Indeed, it is close to a constant, one hammered home painfully from June to September across the decades.”

I can think of one big reason homicides — indeed, all violent crimes — would decrease with the rain. People are more likely to stay inside, and thus, avoid confrontations with strangers.

What do you make of the Times’ theory? Does our rain help bring down crime?

Did Tacoma Murder Suspects Carry out Kitsap Robberies?

Arrests have now been made in a tragic killing over money at Lakewood’s Wal-Mart. And there’s now a chance that the men arrested were responsible for some robberies in Kitsap.

As you might recall, there were three takeover-style robberies in 2008 in the county in which the victims were tied up. And according to the Tacoma News Tribune’s Lights and Sirens blog, the suspects in the Wal-Mart killing may well have been responsible for the Kitsap crimes:

“Area detectives are looking into whether these suspects were involved in any unsolved robberies,” the TNT wrote. ” Among those is a string of 11 takeover-style robberies in the region, including five in Pierce County.”

Here’s a recap of the Kitsap robberies:

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More on Man Caught in Bremerton for Attempted Murder


It’s safe to say this occurrence is rare: man calls officer with complaint about a bowling alley. Officer responds, asks man for his name. Officer finds man is wanted for attempted murder.

Yet that’s exactly what happened in Bremerton Friday night. Shawn Patrick O’Brien, upset that he’d been kicked out of Bremerton Lanes for smoking a cigarette, called police to complain.

The 24-year-old, who was living in Tacoma, left before the cops could get there. Perhaps he knew he might be in trouble if he reported it.

In any case a Bremerton officer found him, and found the warrant for his arrest. The big mystery in our newsroom: just what were the circumstances behind such a warrant?
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Kitsap’s Number of Unsolved Robberies Could get Smaller

The arrest of a robbery suspect early Tuesday may help solve a few other crimes, Bremerton Detective Sgt. Kevin Crane has confirmed.

Immediately coming to my mind was a similar robbery at the same restaurant in December in which the suspect took an undisclosed amount of money, and, before leaving, forced employees into a freezer before having an employee let him out the back door of the restaurant.

Very similar fact pattern in Tuesday’s hold up. And you can’t help but feel for the employees at the restaurant, who’ve endured three robberies in the past year, including another one in May.

There are few crimes as serious as robbery. (Bear in mind that it’s incorrect if you say your house was “robbed” if the suspect got in and out with your stuff without confronting anyone. That’s burglary. A robbery means they’ve forcefully taken something, or threatened force to take something.)

Here’s a wrap up of a few other robberies that have occurred in the area over the past year in which police haven’t made arrests: Continue reading

NK’s Wave of Strange, Tragic Crime Continues

An attempted shooting Sunday night on the Port Gamble S’Klallam reservation  is the latest in what has been a bizarre, all-too-tragic year of criminal activity in Kitsap County’s north end.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but nary a homicide had occurred in North Kitsap — Poulsbo city limits northward — for about a decade before last October.

Today, two men await trial for alleged murders that occurred in Kingston. David Robert Adams was arraigned Aug. 4 in the strangling death of Richard Hugh Jones Jr. And last October saw the stabbing death of Jeffrey Allen McKinstry, whose son Garrett McKinstry is believed by sheriff’s deputies to be the culprit.

Also, a burglary ring involving more than 100 break ins and $250,000 in property  was uncovered by sheriff’s deputies earlier this year that resulted in numerous arrests and convictions.

So what gives?

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Concealed Handguns: To Carry or Not to Carry


Two horrific school shootings this past year at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University have galvanized both “concealed carry” gun owners and firearms opponents, in verbal battles that are taking place across the country.

A recent Seattle P-I blog adds the University of Washington to the list of campuses debating the issue.

From what I can tell, there are two central viewpoints here:

1) Those who believe that “concealed carry” laws on campuses will allow responsible owners to bring an aura of safety should a shooter begin a rampage;

2) Those who think banning the weapons on campus outright (and limiting them elsewhere) will prevent said shooter’s access to get deadly weapons in the first place.

Washington’s concealed pistol law allows 235,795 people to carry (as of May 7), according to Department of Licensing spokeswoman Christine Anthony. In fact, the state even has an “open carry” law, in which gun owners can wear their weapons outside their clothing that may surprise you.

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Strange Patterns in Kitsap’s Tragedies

This months, the deaths of Michele Burton and Girlie Weight have shocked and saddened their families and friends.

At a county level, I’m fairly certain Kitsap hasn’t been home to two homicides in one month since November 2005.

The last three homicides — the two above plus Jeffrey McKinstry last October — were stabbing deaths.

That’s unusual in and of itself. Around the state in 2006 (the last crime statistics released by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs), gun deaths from homicides outnumbered stabbing deaths by more than 3 to 1.

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