Prosecutor: Deputy is unstable, danger to community



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Posted on June 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 24 at 7:30 PM

SEATTLE -- Darrion Holiwell, a 19-year veteran King County sheriff's deputy, appeared in court Tuesday looking very much like the suspects he's tasked with apprehending.

As Holiwell's attorney pleaded not guilty to charges of promoting prostitution, theft and dealing steroids, prosecutors explained to Judge Jim Rogers why the chief firearms instructor for the SWAT team is a danger to the community. One piece of evidence included a text message Holiwell sent.

"He said, after he learned of the investigation, 'I got something for their asses, hang on it’s gonna get real,' said prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff. "Those are his words that talk about what he plans to do."

Ernsdorff painted Holiwell to be abusive to his wife and emotionally unstable. He says Holiwell purchased an assault rifle three weeks after the investigation into his criminal activities began. Detective Christina Bartlett testified that weapon and many others are missing.

"He currently has 69 handguns registered to him in the state of Washington," said Bartlett.

"Your honor, that breaks down, he purchased 7 in 2013, 17 in 2012, and none of these guns are accounted for," said Ernsdorff.

Related: Deputy arrested for alleged promotion of prostitution

His attorney said the guns were legitimately purchased for Holiwell's personal defense business called Praetor Defense. She also argued Holiwell has shown great composure, even when he knew he was under criminal investigation.

"Nothing in the request for the bail from the prosecuting attorney indicates a hint, a whiff, of any kind of violence any kind of inappropriate action during that period time," said attorney Kristine Costello.

The deputy's friends and family members were in the courtroom but declined to comment.

Sheriff John Urquhart attended the hearing, and was pleased the judge kept bail at $150,000.