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Suspect Arrested in Federal Way Cold Case

Posted by Steve Karimi | Oct 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

Once again, DNA technology has been used to make an arrest in a cold case. In 1991, Federal Way teenager Sarah Yarborough was raped and strangled near her high school campus. She had gone to campus early one Saturday morning to join her drill team, which was going to a high school dance competition. Witnesses saw her park in the back parking lot of the school, but she never joined her drill team on the school bus.

Two boys walking in the area later saw a man emerge from some bushes, and when the boys went to investigate where the man had been, they discovered Yarborough's body. A jogger was also in the area, and police were able to make a few composite sketches of the suspect based on these witnesses. Still, the case eventually went cold for twenty-eight years.

Advances in DNA Technology

In 2018, a genetics technology company used DNA markers from the crime scene to create computer-generated sketches of the suspect as to what he may have looked like at 18, 25, and today. The company was also able to determine a general ancestry of the suspect.

The police were then able to identify a subject, and in late September they surveilled him and collected some items he discarded that had his DNA on them. Those collected samples were sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, where they were tested and compared against DNA taken from the crime scene. The DNA matched and King County authorities arrested Patrick Nicholas of Covington, Washington. Nicholas was booked into King County Jail on Wednesday, October 2, 2019.

Records show that Nicholas was arrested in 1994 in Benton County, and the mug shot from that arrest is uncannily similar to one of the composite sketches the DNA technology company had made and a sketch the police had made from the eyewitnesses on the day of the crime. Nicholas was originally charged with child molestation in the first degree but the charge was later dropped to assault in the fourth degree.

King County officials also said in a news conference held on October 3, 2019, that Nicholas was charged and convicted of attempted rape in 1983 and sentenced to ten years. He served time at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. A quick search of Nicholas' name shows an Edward Peter Nicholas, Junior who uses the alias Patrick Nicholas on a sex offender registration list in the Covington area.

Defense Attorney Steve Karimi

If you have been charged with a crime and you are facing serious charges—even if the authorities say they have the DNA proof to convict you—you need a strong and dependable defense. The Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call them at 206-621-8777 or fill out a contact form today.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

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Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.