TACOMA, WA – As part of a plea agreement in July 2016, Jonathan Harris, 32, pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree for the killing Nicole White the previous year. He was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Harris appealed, arguing that his guilty plea was not voluntary and intelligent because he wasn’t aware of all the evidence against him.
Deputy Prosecutor Robin Sand argued to the Court of Appeals that Harris voluntarily pleaded guilty and knew the evidence against him was strong.
The Court of Appeals agreed and found that Harris’ plea was voluntary and intelligent and that he waived his right to appeal his sentence. The Court also found that Harris failed to meet the standard to merit withdrawal of his plea. The Court affirmed Harris’ convictions and sentence.
“Mr. Harris knew what he was doing the night he killed Nicole White. And he knew what he was doing when he pleaded guilty,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
On June 6, 2015, White picked Harris up from his home and they drove to Jeepers Country Bar and Grill in Spanaway. Several hours later, witnesses saw the two leave the bar together in White’s car. White never made it home and was reported missing on June 7.
Over the next two weeks, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, and volunteers conducted an extensive search. On June 20, a K-9 from a volunteer search and rescue team found White’s body at the bottom of wooded ravine south of Lake Kapowsin. Her body was wrapped in a green tarp and was severely decomposed.
Detectives believe that after the two left the bar, they drove back to Harris’ house. Harris admitted to severely beating White, causing her death. He wrapped White in a tarp, loaded her into her car, drove to the wooded area and rolled her down the ravine. Then, he drove her car off the side of the road near his house and walked home.
The next day, according to cell phone records and data stored on the ignition interlock device in his vehicle, Harris drove his car back to the site where he dumped White’s body.
During a search of Harris’ home, detectives located the sweatshirt he was wearing at the bar the night White disappeared. DNA from blood on the sweatshirt was a match to White.
For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, firstname.lastname@example.org.