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5 things to know Friday

Man sentenced for 1991 murder; Fighting for his life; Wildfire gear in Washington; Living in a tank; Opposition to moving Tokitae.


Man who killed 16-year-old girl in Federal Way in 1991 sentenced to over 45 years

The man convicted of killing a 16-year-old girl in 1991 was sentenced to 45 years and eight  months on Thursday morning.

Patrick Leon Nicholas was found guilty of first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the killing of Sarah Yarborough. He was also found guilty of committing the crimes with sexual motivation.

Nicholas is also not permitted to have any contact with members of the Yarborough family or friends.

Before the sentence was announced, members of Yarborough's family testified before the court about the impact of her murder.

"When we lost her, our family was irrevocably changed," said Lori, Yarborough's mother. Read more

'He is fighting for his life every minute': Seattle man in ICU after breaking his neck swimming in Mexico

A Seattle man is fighting for his life in a hospital in Mexico and it all started with a swim. 

“It's hard. Seeing your brother in the ICU hooked up, telling him you love him just in case," said Adam Griffis. "I would not wish that on anyone."

Griffis’ brother Evan is fighting for his life in a Puerto Vallarta hospital. The 30-year-old was swimming in the ocean Sunday when he was hit by a wave and broke his neck.

“It must be a fluke accident. a wave struck him from behind, and immediately thrust him to the seafloor, where he hit his head, fractured two vertebrae,” Griffis said.

Adam said his brother did not suffer brain damage and is able to understand what’s going on and being said to him. Read more

A piece of wildfire safety gear that works every time, isn’t mandatory in Washington state

As another wildfire season approaches, the KING 5 Investigators found there’s a piece of equipment that has saved the lives of approximately two dozen firefighters and has worked every time it’s been used, yet not many wildland firefighters in the state of Washington have it.

The product is fire barrier curtains. They’re made of multiple layers of aluminum that roll up and are installed inside the cabs of bulldozers, excavators, brush trucks and other rigs used in wildland firefighting. In the worst-case scenario on the front lines – getting trapped by flames with no way out – the curtains are deployed and fastened with Velcro around the windows. They can withstand temperatures of up to 2800 degrees – the temperature of the hottest wildfires. Read more

Marine neuroscientist explains why living in a tank can harm an orca's brain

Part of the push to return Tokitae from the Miami Seaquarium to her native waters came due to concerns about her mental and emotional health.

Tokitae was taken from Puget Sound in the 1970s when she was around four years old and has spent the last 53 years in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium where she performed under the name Lolita. She is known to the Lummi nation as Sk’aliCh’elh’tenaut.

While the size and environmental differences between marine tanks and the ocean are obvious, researchers say there are also contrasts in social interaction and daily stressors that impact the sophisticated brains of marine mammals.

Dr. Lori Marino is a neuroscientist with decades of experience studying whale and dolphin brains and intelligence. 

"When you look at their brain you realize it has a number of characteristics that are even more elaborated than the human brain, and when you look at their behavior in the field and what they do in their everyday lives you see a lot of complexity there," Marino said.  Read more

'She is home': Famous orca’s former trainers, vet oppose plans to release 

Support for Tokitae’s release has come from across the world in recent years- with celebrities like Cher even joining in. 

Yet, a vocal group of people, some of the people closest to her including former trainers and veterinarians, are now speaking out against her release.

“I spent 18 years with her, that is 35% of my life... forming such an incredible love and bond with this animal,” said Heather Keenan, manager of animal training at the Miami Seaquarium from 1999 to 2016. Read more 

RELATED: Western Washington Forecast

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