Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 50° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Police: Man admits killing barista

Associated Press

PORTLAND – A man accused of killing an Oregon barista told police he fatally shot the woman after kidnapping her and forcing her to perform a sex act, according to a police affidavit.

The document containing the statement by suspect Jonathan Holt was released late Monday after his court appearance on seven counts of aggravated murder in the death of Whitney Heichel.

Though there was only one victim, Oregon law allows prosecutors to give jurors options for convicting a person by presenting multiple counts, each pegged to an aggravating factor such as robbery or sexual assault, that could lead to the death penalty.

Holt, who will have a public defender assigned to his case, did not enter a plea during the brief appearance by video.

Heichel, 21, of Gresham, disappeared Oct. 16 after leaving for her 7 a.m. shift at a nearby coffee shop. Her Ford Explorer, with the passenger side window smashed, was found at a Wal-mart six hours later, triggering an investigation that ended with the Friday night discovery of her body on Larch Mountain, east of Gresham.

Holt and his wife lived in the same apartment complex as Heichel and her husband. The couples were acquaintances and members of the same Jehovah’s Witness church.

The two-paragraph affidavit states that Holt told Oregon State Police Sgt. Jon Harrington that he waited outside Heichel’s apartment and asked for a ride as she was leaving for work.

Minutes into the drive, he pulled a handgun and told her to drive to Roslyn Lake, the document says.

Holt then forced Heichel to perform oral sex before fatally shooting her, the affidavit states.

Heichel was shot four times. A report from the state crime lab said swabs from the steering wheel of the SUV revealed a male DNA profile consistent with that of Holt.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.