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August 4, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Ex-King County deputy pleads guilty to prostitution, theft and drug charges

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King County sheriff’s Deputy Darrion Keith Holiwell shown during his arraignment in June. (Seattle Times file photo)

A former King County sheriff’s deputy accused of helping his estranged wife work as a prostitute, stealing department ammunition and illegally delivering testosterone pleaded guilty this afternoon in King County Superior Court.

Deputy Darrion Keith Holiwell, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree promoting prostitution, one count of first-degree theft and one count of violating a drug law. Under a plea agreement Holiwell, a 19-year-veteran,was sentenced to 366 days in prison.

He has been held in protective custody in the King County Jail since he was arrested and charged in June.

Holiwell had been the subject of an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office since April, when his estranged wife, who is involved in a bitter divorce case with Holiwell, went to his previous wife, according to charging documents. The current wife wanted to find if there had been a pattern of domestic violence in the previous relationship like that allegedly occurring in her marriage, the documents say.

The former wife mentioned the conversation to a friend who is a King County sheriff’s employee and is required to report domestic violence. The employee notified supervisors.

Although the current wife and former wife didn’t intend for an investigation, both later provided statements concerning assaults and violent behavior by Holiwell, according to the charging documents.

His current wife told investigators that Holiwell, knowing her background as an exotic dancer, suggested she work a second job as an escort to help with the family’s financial burdens, which worsened when he needed surgery and couldn’t earn overtime related to his SWAT duties and a side business in firearms training, the charges allege.

Even though she moved to her own condominium when their 14-year marriage faltered last year, he helped her work as an escort at that point by providing advice and assisting with security measures, she told investigators. Holiwell would collect about 80 percent of her earnings — including some of the nearly $2,000 she made on weekends — to help him pay household expenses and for the two boys who remained with him, she said.

The theft charge stems from Holiwell’s alleged trading of 67 cases of ammunition worth more than $15,000 to two gun shops since 2007 in exchange for credit to obtain tactical gear and firearms parts.

Two other deputies have been placed on paid leave as the investigation into Holiwell continues, Sheriff John Urquhart said in June. One, a woman who worked in the major-crimes unit, is suspected of tipping Holiwell to the investigation. No details were provided on why the other deputy, who works at the range, is on leave.

Urquhart said the probe also uncovered that Holiwell, a SWAT officer and chief of the department’s Ravensdale shooting range, sold about 19,000 pounds of brass from expended shell casings to three guns shops in exchange for some cash, but mostly for merchandise used by the SWAT team, including gun sights and barrels.

“Basically, tricking out their weapons,” Urquhart said in June. “Lots of stuff, to the tune of about between $45,000 and $50,000 between 2007 and currently. Essentially what it was was a slush fund for the SWAT team off the books, at least off our books.”

Though the transactions weren’t a crime, Urquhart said, they are troubling and were known by some others on the SWAT team and two sergeants.

Urquhart fired Holiwell on July 15.

“Darrion Holiwell violated his oath, the trust of his fellow deputies, and the trust of the citizens of King County,” Urquhart said at the time. “He does not deserve to be a police officer.”

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Darrion Holiwell, John Urquhart, King County Sheriff's Office

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