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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Retired UW professor charged with murder, accused of fatally shooting his sleeping wife in Bellevue

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 13, 2020

By Sara Jean Green Seattle Times

A Bellevue woman was shot in the face and neck with a 12-gauge shotgun while she was asleep in her bedroom, according to King County prosecutors, who charged the woman’s 75-year-old husband on Monday with premeditated first-degree murder domestic violence.

Charging papers say Thomas Jarboe called 911 just after 4:30 a.m. Thursday and calmly told a dispatcher, “Yeah, I just shot my wife.” He was arrested at the scene and remains jailed in lieu of $2.5 million bail, jail and court records show.

Killed was 63-year-old Kay Saw, whose death was ruled a homicide by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“Here, around 4:30 a.m., the defendant grabbed a shotgun and walked into his wife’s bedroom while his wife was asleep,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor William Doyle wrote in charging documents. “He raised his shotgun and then fired it into her face and neck. Not satisfied shooting her once, he shot at her again in an apparent effort to make sure she was dead.”

University of Washington spokesperson Victor Balta confirmed Tuesday that Jarboe is an emeritus professor who retired earlier this year from the university’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics but had no current teaching assignments, a detail first reported by KOMO News. Balta wrote in a text message that Jarboe started teaching at the UW in 1989.

“We are very disturbed by these reports and our hearts go out to the victim and her family,” Balta wrote.

KOMO also quoted authorities as saying Jarboe suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease and amnesia, but Bellevue police spokesperson Meeghan Black said Tuesday she did not release that information and does not know if it is true. Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said there was no mention of Jarboe’s health issues in court last week and prosecutors also did not release the health information included in KOMO’s report.

According to the murder charge:

After Jarboe called 911 early Thursday to report he had shot his wife at their house in the 17100 block of Southeast 60th Street, a dispatcher asked if he’d intentionally shot her or if it was an accident. Police say Jarboe responded that he had shot her on purpose but then claimed he fired in self-defense.

According to police, Jarboe told the dispatcher his wife was his caregiver and had been abusing him; he also called her a “blight” on his family and said she hates his children and they hate her, the charges say.

Bellevue police responded to the couple’s home and Jarboe was arrested without incident. Police transported Jarboe to Overlake Medical Center for “medication purposes,” and while at the hospital, he made several suicidal statements to an officer, say charging papers. He was later booked into jail.

Back at the couple’s residence, police found Saw dead in her bedroom and two fired shotgun shells nearby; officers also recovered a 12-gauge shotgun and an unfired shell in the study.

Two neighbors told police they heard the gunshots, with one neighbor estimating the shots were fired within 10 to 30 seconds of each other, and the second neighbor thinking a few minutes had elapsed between gunshots.

The forensic pathologist with the medical examiner’s office who conducted the autopsy on Saw couldn’t determine if she had been shot more than once in the neck and lower jaw area but said the shots were fired from within four feet of Saw, say the charges.

So far this year, police in King County have investigated 16 domestic-violence homicides, and all but one of them was committed after the coronavirus pandemic began, according to Seattle police and McNerthney. McNerthney noted the number now surpasses the 14 domestic-violence homicides committed in the county in 2018 and 2019 combined.

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