A third suspect in the Dec. 8 slaying of Navy veteran Frances “Patrick” Fleming inside his senior independent-living center in Seattle’s Bitter Lake neighborhood has been charged with first-degree murder.
In August, King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom charged two other suspects, Charles Jungbluth, of Lake Stevens, and Gilda Ramirez, of Seattle, with first-degree murder. Since then, Ramirez pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon, first-degree burglary, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and prosecutors said that as part of her guilty plea she is expected to testify against Jungbluth and the newest defendant, Brenda Nicholas.
On Tuesday, Carlstrom charged Nicholas, 46, with first-degree murder. She’s being held at the King County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.
Prosecutors said they have been building a case against Nicholas since this summer. In July, she was charged with more than 50 criminal counts, including the alleged bilking of an elderly Seattle woman out of $1 million — those cases were unrelated to Fleming.
Fleming, 70, got to know the defendants, believing they were related to a neighbor at the Four Freedoms House, his senior independent-living center, prosecutors say in court documents. People closest to Fleming said he was extremely friendly and often talked about his nearly 40-year-old coin collection.
It was his eagerness to chat about the coins that drew attention from members of the crime ring, authorities said.
On the night of Dec. 8, Fleming was found dead inside his apartment. He suffered stab wounds all over his body and a deep gash to the throat.
Police and prosecutors were soon led to the suspects by a former resident at the Four Freedoms House, a woman who said she had been scammed by the group, according to Seattle police. She had moved from the complex before Fleming’sdeath.
Seattle police Detective Cloyd Steiger wrote in charging documents that Jungbluth’s DNA was found at the crime scene.
According to charging papers, Nicholas was in Fleming’s apartment the evening he was killed.