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Deputy pleads not guilty to charges
Darrion Keith Holiwell, a King County Sheriff’s Office deputy assigned to the Ravensdale firing range, pleaded not guilty to charges of promoting prostitution, theft and selling a controlled substance.
Holiwell was arrested June 19 and is incarcerated at the King County jail in Seattle.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office charged the 49-year-old Holiwell with one count of promoting prostitution, second degree, once count of first degree theft and one count of selling a controlled substance, steroids.
Bail was set at $150,000. The arraignment was June 24 and King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers denied a petition by Holiwell’s attorney to reduce bail. Holiwell pleaded not guilty at the hearing.
Holiwell has been a deputy since 1995, was the chief firearms instructor assigned to the Ravensdale firing range and a member of the King County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Team or SWAT.
The charging documents stated Holiwell “did knowingly advance and profit from the prostitution” of his wife.
As a SWAT member and firearms instructor for the past 11 years, Holiwell had access to ammunition stored at the range and the tactical team headquarters. The investigation alleged Holiwell was involved in the theft of spent brass bullet casings and live ammunition. Holiwell is accused of turning the brass casings in for credit to three local vendors and using the money as a personal slush fund.
According to the investigators, in 2007 Holiwell “exchanged 63 cases of King County ammunition” during a five month period for $13,240.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart said at a June 19 press conference deputies used the range to qualify with firearms twice a year and the FBI also uses the firing range.
Urquhart said two other deputies with alleged connections to the case have been placed on paid administrative leave and are being investigated. The sheriff said one of the deputies was assigned to the Ravensdale range. The second is a major crimes detective who is being investigated for rendering criminal assistance and obstruction.
Urquhart said the allegation against the detective is, “She learned we were going to be investigating and we believe tipped Darrion off.”
The report stated Holiwell sent a text message, indicating he was tipped, before his home was searched.
“Sh… storm is coming. Tell you tonight. (Current wife) reached out to (former wife) stiring (sic) sh… up…. Storm is coming but I got something for there as….”
Holiwell is also on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.
According to King County Sheriffs Office investigators the case broke open during a divorce and custody battle between Holiwell and his wife.
Holiwell had been married to his third wife for 16 years and the couple has two children.
His current wife contacted his second wife to ask if she experienced domestic violence while married to Holiwell.
After speaking on the phone with his wife, the former wife “was so overwhelmed” by what she heard she contacted a friend who works for the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Urquhart said the former wife was a hairdresser and one of her clients was a deputy. The sheriff said he first heard about the domestic violence allegations on a Sunday while at the Maple Valley precinct in April. He assigned a major crimes detective to the case.
According to Urquhart, the current wife “initially didn’t want to talk” and was surprised and unaware the former wife told a deputy.
Eventually the current wife opened up to investigators, outlining a complex case of prostitution, drug use and theft.
According to the investigator’s report, the couple’s marriage became increasingly troubled and violent when Holiwell learned about “affairs she had been having.”
The report stated Holiwell, “suggested to her, ‘If you’re going to have sex, you might as well get paid for it.’ He reminded her she was good at dealing with men, as she worked as an exotic dancer when they met.”
He told her the money could help the family financial problems.
The wife moved out of the family residence in May 2013 and set up an escorting business. She told detectives the escort business was prostitution.
Urquhart said ads were placed on backpage.com for the business.
Investigators wrote, “Holiwell, who was a small business owner himself, provided marketing ideas…. She said he would tell her to try to establish high net worth clients, and ‘protect her brand.’”
She estimated the split was “80/20” with the 80 percent going to Holiwell. She told detectives she could make more than $2,000 a weekend.
The arrangement broke down in late September 2013 when the wife discovered Holiwell was having an, “intimate dating relationship with her twenty something year old friend.”
The wife went over to his residence and cut the leather sofas. She filed for divorce and stopped giving him money.
During a search warrant served at Holiwell’s Seattle residence, bottles of British Dragon steroids and testosterone in injectable form, along with Human Chorine Godadotrupin and other prescription medications were seized.
Detectives also seized his iPhone with messages from the man supplying the steroids, cocaine, Molly or Ecstasy, and other drugs. The man was living in a condominium owned by Holiwell.
Text messages from a second man trying to buy testosterone and other drugs were found on Holiwell’s iPhone. The man admitted to investigators he purchased illegal drugs from Holiwell.
The prosecutor’s documents describe Holiwell as a “highly skilled marksman” and a “proficient competitive shooter on a national level.”
According to witness cited in the document, Holiwell owned a “minimum of 6 various high-quality personal firearms, a mix of military-style rifles and handguns. Some witness put the figure much higher.”
During the search of his residence no firearms or ammunition was found and the gun safe was empty.
The prosecutor’s document noted Holiwell posted on his personal business website a weapon he had bought in early May, “well after he was relieved of his gun and badge and placed on administrative leave.”
Urquhart said he is concerned the alleged crimes of Holiwell point to a case of corruption in the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff said Holiwell may have been selling steroids “inside the sheriff’s office….”
Urquhart said some SWAT team members may have been involved in purchasing and using steroids.
He said the, “vast majority” of the team in not implicated, “but we have to do more investigating to see how deep this goes.”
Urquhart said the gossip out there is, “Urquhart is on witch hunt. Well guess what. They’re right…. I am on a witch hunt to root out this kind of behavior inside the sheriff’s office.”