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Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

April 8, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Guilty verdict in murder, robbery of elderly Bitter Lake man

A King County jury has convicted a woman of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of a 70-year-old man in December 2011 at a senior independent-living center in Seattle’s Bitter Lake neighborhood.

Brenda Nicholas, 46, faces between 22 and about 30 years in prison when she is sentenced for the murder of Francis “Patrick” Fleming. A sentencing date has not been set, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Two others have already pleaded guilty to their involvement in the slaying and robbery of Fleming. Charles Jungbluth pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and Gilda Ramirez, who was originally charged with murder, pleaded guilty to first-degree counts of robbery, burglary, and trafficking in stolen property. Both are also awaiting sentencing, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Fleming got to know the defendants, believing they were related to a neighbor at the Four Freedoms House, his senior independent-living center, prosecutors said 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, 2011, 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 defendants, according to Seattle police. She had moved from the complex before Fleming’sdeath.

Seattle police wrote in charging documents that Jungbluth’s DNA was found at the crime scene.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, stabbing


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