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October 14, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Deputy linked to Holiwell case resigns

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Darrion Keith Holiwell

A deputy who was put on administrative leave when the King County Sheriff’s Office launched the prostitution and theft investigation of former deputy Darrion Keith Holiwell has resigned.

Deputy Chris Kahrs resigned from the sheriff’s office on Monday, just one day before he was scheduled for a Loudermill hearing, said Sheriff John Urquhart. The hearing would have allowed Kahrs a final opportunity to plead his case before a determination on punishment  is made.

Kahrs, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, worked at the firearms range with Holiwell, who in August was sentenced to 366 days in prison for helping his wife work as a prostitute and for stealing from the department. On Sept. 29, he was re-sentenced to a longer term after he was caught lying to the court about his finances.

Holiwell is now serving 17 months in prison and has been ordered to pay $45,000 in restitution to the county.

Urquhart fired Holiwell in July while he was facing criminal charges.

Urquhart could not say what Kahrs was accused of doing because Urquhart says he has taken “a hands-off approach” to the investigation after announcing the criminal charges against Holiwell. Urquhart said that Chief Deputy Jim Pugel is in charge of the Kahrs case as well as the related investigation into Major Crimes Detective Robin Cleary.

Cleary, who has also been on administrative leave for her alleged connection to Holiwell’s case, is scheduled for a Loudermill hearing Tuesday before Pugel. She is accused of tipping Holiwell to the sheriff’s office investigation.

King County prosecutors declined to file charges against Cleary because they found there was insufficient evidence to prove what she did was with criminal intent, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The sheriff’s office began investigating Holiwell in April, after his estranged wife went to his previous wife to find out if the other woman had endured domestic violence while with Holiwell, authorities said. The former wife mentioned the conversation to a friend who is a sheriff’s employee, and the employee notified supervisors.

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

Holiwell’s 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 problems, which worsened when he needed surgery and couldn’t earn overtime related to his SWAT duties or through Praetor Defense, his firearms-training business, authorities said.

Even though Holiwell’s estranged wife moved to her own condominium when their 14-year marriage faltered last year, he helped her work as an escort 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 expenses related to their two young sons, she said.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Darion Keith Holiwell, King County Sheriff's Office, prostitution

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