WHITE CENTER CRIME WATCH: 2 arrested in 1995 murder, 23 years later
Announced today by the King County Sheriff’s Office:
On November 27, 1995, the King County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle parked in the 200-block of SW 97 PL in White Center. Upon their arrival, deputies found an African-American male, identified later as Kenneth Ruffer, age 26, shot to death within the vehicle.
The ensuing investigation identified numerous persons who knew Mr. Ruffer. It was ultimately learned that Mr. Ruffer may have been set up for a robbery by a female associate who at the time was 25 years old. A male suspect at the time of the murder was 29 years old, and was named as an accomplice to the robbery-murder.
Collected evidence was examined by the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab with a DNA analysis conducted. A full DNA profile was obtained which subsequently matched a reference sample collected from the male suspect.
Although DNA evidence did allow for the identification of a suspect in this case, cooperative witnesses had to be developed. Detectives spent the past year re-examining the case, its evidence, and tracking down and re-contacting witnesses in order to develop that level of cooperation.
On February 13, 2019, the now 52 year-old male and 48-year-old female, were booked into the King County Jail on Murder 1 charges.
(added 2:13 pm)
“Our detectives never give up in their quest for justice for all victims” said Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. “Today, their tireless work has hopefully brought some comfort to Mr. Ruffer’s family.”
“This case, and others like it, highlight the need for funding of a dedicated Cold Case Unit,” said Sheriff Johanknecht. “The King County Sheriff’s Office has over 300 unsolved cold cases. Our major crimes detectives must balance cold case investigations with a high volume of current cases … Every victim matters, and I will continue to seek ways to ensure those who do them harm are accountable for their actions.”
We’re checking with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to see if charges actually have been filed yet, as online files don’t show them – though we’re aware that court/criminal-justice operations are catching up from snow closures.
7:15 PM: Both suspects are charged with first-degree murder, according to documents we obtained from the KCPAO – Christopher Wright and Nichole Asphy. Prosecutors allege Ruffer was shot dead as they attempted to rob him.. We’ll add more details from the charging papers later.
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