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Man sentenced to life in prison for 1980 King County murders could be paroled in July

Survivors of the armed robbery and families of the victims are now asking Gov. Jay Inslee to block Timothy Pauley's release.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In 1981 prosecutors told Maggie Dowell she would never have to worry about Timothy Pauley getting out of prison.

“I believed them,” said Dowell.

But Pauley could be paroled, as soon as July 2, based on a decision by the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board.

“I can’t sleep,” said Dowell, “I wake up every couple of hours seeing this man.”

Dowell said prosecutors assured her Pauley would never be set free after receiving a life sentence for his involvement in a 1980 deadly armed robbery.

Pauley and an accomplice, Scott Smith, robbed the Barn Door Tavern in south King County. Three employees were killed.

Pauley confessed to shooting two men, Loran Dowell and Robert Pierre. Smith killed Linda Burford.

During the robbery, Maggie Dowell was tied up, strangled, and left for dead in the tavern’s women’s restroom.

Smith and Pauley both received life sentences in 1981. But after sentencing laws changed in 1984, their sentences became eligible for review.

After several attempts at parole, in April the board granted Pauley his potential release in July.

The board determined he was eligible for release for several reasons, according to state documents, including that he was a low risk to re-offend, he had remained sober and out of trouble in prison, and participated in support groups and therapy sessions.

During his parole hearing, Pauley said he panicked, and shot the two men as a result.

He did not offer an apology for his actions.

”There are people that deserve second chances… this is a guy that does not deserve a second chance in the community,” said former Congressman and King County Sheriff Dave Reichert.

Reichert was one of the original detectives on the 1980 case. He remembers the tavern’s crime scene as one of the “most horrific” in his history in law enforcement.

Reichert does not believe Pauley has been rehabilitated because he never has shown any remorse for his crimes.

Reichert said because of that, Pauley reminds him of serial killers he’s investigated, including Gary Ridgway and Ted Bundy.

”The only reason that Ridgeway was crying at his hearing was that he was sorry he got caught. Bundy was also sorry he got caught but was executed. Pauley is just sorry he got caught,” said Reichert.

Reichert helped coordinate a meeting with the Dowell family and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Inslee has the authority to block Pauley’s release.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg wrote Inslee a letter encouraging the governor to revoke Pauley’s parole.

“The crimes in this case call for the forfeiture of liberty for life,” Satterberg wrote Inslee.

A spokesperson for Inslee said the governor is expected to make a decision on the parole “in the near future.”

In a written statement the spokesperson said, “It's a very painful case to revisit, and the impact on the family is clear and palpable.”

Kelley Tarp, daughter of Loran Dowell, said the governor is their last hope.

”We’re begging people to call Gov. Inslee and let them know they don’t want him out,” said Tarp.

If Inslee does not get involved, the Dowell family said they will petition the parole board to prohibit Pauley from living in Thurston County, where several members of the Dowells live, including Maggie Dowell.

She said she has nightmares of seeing Pauley out of custody. 

"Thinking that I have to walk into a store and he could be there for me, and my kids, and my grandkids? It terrifies me,” said Dowell.