(The Center Square ) – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has canceled the state Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board’s decision to parole a man convicted of three murders in south King County.
On Friday, Inslee ordered that Timothy Robert Pauley, 63, not be released from the life sentence he has been serving since February 1981.
Inslee recognized in his written order on May 20 that the ISRB board had unanimously found Pauley rehabilitated enough for release.
That decision, said Inslee, had followed psychological testing, a review of records, interviews with Department of Corrections staff and a hearing in March.
Officials based their decision on the fact that Pauley had completed counseling for drug abuse and had voluntarily engaged in educational programs to better himself.
In addition, he had never been given an infraction for violence and had not been subject to any disciplinary action since 1995.
The ISRB credited Pauley with building strong social-connections that could support his release.
However, Inslee said statements made by Pauley during ISRB’s were troubling enough to keep him behind bars
“I am concerned by what is missing in Mr. Pauley’s ISRB record,” wrote Inslee this week.
“At his March 2022 ISRB hearing, Mr. Pauley was given the opportunity to testify and offer his thoughts on how his behavior has impacted the victims and families of the victims. He expressed feeling ashamed for his ‘horrible actions causing unimaginable problems.’ But, in doing so, Mr. Pauley distanced himself from his actions and the direct consequences of those actions.
“He spoke to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that he suffered stemming from an earlier industrial accident and how he is ashamed that, through his crimes, he ‘passed that [PTSD] on to them [the victims].’
“He referred to the victims and their families as ‘them’ and ‘these people,’ never directly acknowledging by name or apologizing to the victims and their families. This is troubling.”
Inslee concluded that, for Pauley’s rehabilitation to be complete, “he must engage in serious introspection to ultimately achieve and affirmatively demonstrate both a full acceptance of his responsibility and remorse.”
Pauley and co-defendant Steven Smith received life sentences after confessing that they had killed Loren Dowell, Robert Pierre and Linda Buford during a robbery at the Barn Door Tavern in King County in 1980.
Because of changes in sentencing laws, Pauley was able to appear a couple of months ago before the ISRB to plead for release.
“I would like to become known for something more than the horrible crime I committed in 1980,” Pauley is reported to have told board members.
When asked about the June 1980 killings, Pauley is recorded to have told ISRB members said that he panicked during what he thought was only going to be a robbery.
Inslee’s order outlines the brutality of the crimes committed by Pauley.
The governor noted that Pauley and his associate entered the tavern and declared a robbery. Pauley was carrying a gun and Smith a knife.
They made all five victims lay down on the floor. Then the three men were tied up with electrical cord and then walked back to one of the coolers in the pub.
The women were ordered to disrobe and two of them were tied together at the hands. They then had electrical cords tied around their necks, which caused them to pass out.
Buford was tied to a post by her neck with a knotted cord and strangled to death.
Dowell and Pierce were then fatally shot by Pauley in the cooler.
State Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, praised Inslee’s decision to deny parole.
“I’d like to think the governor canceled the order out of duty to protect the public, but I suspect it had a lot to do with public backlash over skyrocketing crime,” Braun said in a statement. “Whatever his motive, it was the only acceptable decision. Mr. Pauley should never see the outside of his prison walls.”