January 6, 1995 in City

Kettle Falls Teenager Jailed In Stalking Case Youth Pleads Innocent To Attempted Arson, Attempted Assault; Bail Set At $100,000

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Kettle Falls High School senior faces numerous criminal charges after allegedly resorting to violence when the 15-year-old girl he is accused of stalking for months refused to date him.

Aaron W. King, 18, was in the Stevens County Jail on Thursday on $100,000 bail. He is accused of planning to blow up a car carrying a girl he blamed for convincing her 15-year-old friend not to date him. He also is charged with firing six shots into the car in December.

King pleaded innocent to five charges, including attempted first-degree arson and attempted seconddegree assault, when he appeared before Superior Court Judge Fred Stewart last Friday.

King and his attorney, John Troberg, declined to comment on the charges.

The parents of the girl King wanted to date asked that she not be identified. They and several of her friends and their parents fear King will post the required $100,000 bail and seek revenge.

King’s grandfather owns a Kettle Falls lumber mill, but authorities say King’s family has made no effort to bail him out.

Even with King in jail, the girl he allegedly stalked fears for her life: “If I hear a noise at night, I just jump up and think Aaron is going to get me. I’m scared he will kill me. It just terrifies me to go anywhere.”

Because of her fear, the girl has dropped out of Kettle Falls High School and is being home-schooled.

She said she met King, a friend of her 17-year-old brother’s, in June. King soon began showering her with presents, flowers and phone calls. She said he also frequently leered at her, made suggestive remarks and gave her obscene notes.

“It made me feel gross about myself,” the girl said.

“I needed to put a potato sack around me because he would look at me obscenely and make obscene gestures.”

She said King once chased her around her house until she threw up, and he chased her through “many, many alleys” on another occasion after school.

“I tried to be rude to him and I tried to be nice, but none of it worked,” she said.

Undeterred, King took pictures of her while she wasn’t watching, slept with one of her T-shirts and threatened to kill himself if she wouldn’t date him, the girl said. When she still refused, King “made it clear to me that he was going to kill my friends to get to me,” she said.

A friend of the girl’s, Susan Bradley, 16, believes King did try to kill her. He is accused of slashing the brake lines on Bradley’s family car and planning to blow it up with a bomb set to go off at a time he knew Bradley would be inside.

“I’m terrified,” Bradley said. “I’ve never been so jumpy in my life. I don’t feel safe at all, even with him in jail.”

Bradley said King asked her to help him get a date with her friend and incorrectly believed she instead urged the girl not to see him.

Bradley’s mother, Melissa Bradley, says she thinks King should be charged with attempted murder. She said King bragged to her daughter’s friends that only a locking gasoline cap had kept him from planting a “pretty sophisticated” device intended to cause an explosion in her car’s fuel tank.

Sheriff’s officers said the teenagers reported the bomb threat to them and they found such a device in King’s home.

It was just luck, Melissa Bradley said, that she discovered her car’s sabotaged brakes before leaving her driveway. And authorities say some of the shots King admitted firing into the car on Dec. 10 could have hit the Bradley home, where family members were sleeping.

Stevens County Deputy Prosecutor David Soukup said King asked other teenagers to kill Susan Bradley and asked them to get him a gun. Soukup said one of the teenagers reported King talked about killing himself but decided he wanted to kill Bradley first.

Melissa Bradley said her daughter blames herself for putting the family in danger and has spent much of her time in hiding since discovering the violence was aimed at her.

“I haven’t seen my daughter more than four or five days since then,” Bradley said. “The damage this boy has done to my family, I don’t feel any penalty is stern enough.”

The strongest charge against King, attempted first-degree arson, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

He also is charged with attempted second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree malicious mischief.

Kettle Falls Police Chief Duane Gagnon said King previously had a clean record except for traffic infractions. One of the current charges against King is that last month he slashed the tires of a car of a police officer who had given him a ticket.


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