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DORI MONSON

Dori: Former prison cellmate believes triple murderer is `not evil,’ should be freed

UPDATED: MAY 17, 2022 AT 4:29 PM
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Weekdays on KIRO Newsradio 12pm-3pm

As families of slain SeaTac tavern workers anxiously fear the approved summer release of triple murderer Timothy Pauley, the killer’s former prison cellmate told The Dori Monson Show that Pauley is “not an evil person” and should be freed.

This comes in stark contrast to what Dori and his listeners heard in recent interviews with Kelley Tarp. Her father, Loran Dowell, was shot in the head next to his business partner, Bob Pierre, by Pauley during a robbery at the Barn Door Tavern in June 1980. Tarp’s mother was one of two women who survived after being tortured and hung in a restroom. Pauley and his partner escaped with $1,500.

The 42-year-old case is back in the news after the Washington state Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board approved a summer release for Pauley – despite repeated pleas from victims’ families to keep him locked up.

Dori: Triple killer to be released unless Gov. Inslee overrules parole board

It’s a parole board decision that can only be overruled by Gov. Jay Inslee. His communications advisor wrote Dori that “the governor expects to make a decision in the near future on this matter.”

In response, Dori interviewed Dave Reichert, former King County Sheriff and retired U.S. congressman Dave Reichert – and one of the original detectives on the case yesterday.

That’s what prompted Gary Alexander, who served time with Pauley at Washington state’s McNeil Island Corrections Center in 1989, to reach out to Dori.

“The characterization that Pauley was receiving by Mr. Reichert – I felt he wasn’t getting, I don’t know how to say it, getting a fair shake, but at least a fair look at the person he is today,” Alexander said.

“This one struck home. I know this guy. I know the person he is today. I know the person he was about eight years after the crime was committed,” Alexander continued. “It’s not okay to say that he is comparable to a serial killer.”

With Dori on Monday, Reichert drew similarities among his investigation interviews with serial rapist/killer Ted Bundy, Green River killer Gary Ridgeway and Pauley.

“He (Pauley) has the same attitude toward life, toward someone else’s life,” Reichert told Dori. “All three were cowards.”

“The crime speaks for itself . . . I get that,” Alexander said. “It’s horrendous what happened. But I know from a first-hand account from living with the guy how he feels.”

How does Pauley feel? Dori asked.

“The guy feels horrible about it. He regrets it every day,” Alexander said. His life behind bars, according to Alexander, shows “he has done nothing but try to overcome that day in every way possible.”

Refusing to release Pauley “would imply he can’t do any good out here, that he can’t be a positive influence out here,” argued Alexander, who has now finished serving his own sentence for first-degree armed robbery. “I credit this guy for my success. When I first came in, he was the one who re-routed me, showed me how to survive a very violent environment.”

What about the victims’ family members? Dori asked.

“He’s devastated these family members,” Dori told Pauley. In his most recent conversation with Kelley Tarp, “she was on the brink of being distraught. I believe seeking redemption in a good thing, but he (Pauley) needs to do it behind bars for the rest of his life.

“I think there is a huge difference between being redeemed vs. walking free,” Dori continued. “There are certain things that society should not be redemptive of on this earth and in this life.”

“It’s hard to argue. I’ll give you that,” Alexander said, adding that he served time with “heinous murderers who should never walk the earth free again.”

Pauley, he believes, “acted in the moment, impulsively, without the cognitive ability to disseminate what he was getting into at the time.”

After serving his sentence, Dori told Alexander, “You have deserved this shot of freedom . . . I’m all for it for you. I’m just not for it for Timothy Pauley.”

But his former “cellie,” Alexander said, “doesn’t want that one singular moment to define him for the rest of his life.”

For the Dowell and Tarp families, Dori countered, “that singular moment has had a lifetime effect.”