Killer's ex-girlfriend, 4 others arrested in trooper's slaying
The former girlfriend of Joshua Jearl Blake, the man suspected of killing a State Patrol trooper on Thursday, has been arrested for allegedly trying to help her ex-boyfriend flee from authorities, investigators said Friday morning.
Seattle Times staff reporter
How to help
Donations: An account has been opened to assist the family of Trooper Tony Radulescu. Donations to the Anthony Radulescu Memorial Fund may be made at any Key Bank branch.
Flowers: Those wishing to leave flowers or other expressions of appreciation are asked to do so at the State Patrol District Headquarters, 4811 Werner Road, in Bremerton. The State Patrol asks that flowers not be left at the site of the shooting, along state Highway 16 in Gorst.
Memorial service: Details will be released soon.
Source: Washington State Patrol
PORT ORCHARD — Friends and family say Jessi Leigh Foster is a strong woman with a few weaknesses.
They claim one of them — Joshua Jearl Blake — is the reason she is sitting in Kitsap County Jail, accused of helping him after he killed a State Patrol trooper early Thursday morning.
Foster is one of five people authorities have arrested on suspicion of "rendering criminal assistance" to Blake.
Foster and Blake are no longer together, but Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer and prosecutors said she rushed to his side when he called for help shortly after he shot Trooper Tony Radulescu along state Highway 16 in Gorst. She was aware he had killed a law-enforcement officer, prosecutors allege, but instead of calling 911, she tried to help him flee the area.
Before Blake could get far, a sheriff's SWAT team tracked him down to a rural property near Port Orchard, where he shot himself in the head. Foster was with him there, according to charging documents.
Blake, 28, died a few hours later at a Tacoma hospital.
Foster was arrested on Thursday night and charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance. A Kitsap County District Court judge set her bail at $500,000 during a brief court appearance Friday afternoon attended by about two dozen of Foster's friends and relatives.
The others — an 18-year-old woman who was with Blake; two men, ages 30 and 37; and a 26-year-old woman, all from South Kitsap County — were arrested Friday and face similar charges, officials announced late Friday night.
They, too, were being held with bail set at $500,000 and were expected to be arraigned Monday. The four arrested Friday weren't immediately identified by name.
Foster's father, Wayne Foster, teared up outside the courtroom when asked about Radulescu's slaying.
"Of course, it's terrible, terrible," he said. "There are not words to say."
But Wayne Foster and other supporters say his daughter was played by lake, a man with a violent past whose frequent victim was his onetime girlfriend and the mother of his 3-year-old daughter.
"I think my sister is truly a victim, too," said her brother Aaron Foster.
According to Kitsap County court records, Blake had a propensity for hitting women. In 2004 he was convicted of assaulting another girlfriend, pregnant at the time, as he drove down a street under the influence of alcohol.
Later that year, after the baby was born, he choked the woman and punched her in the face repeatedly because she asked him to watch the child while she took a nap.
After becoming involved with Blake, Foster became the frequent victim of his violent outbursts, Wayne Foster and Sheriff Boyer said.
According to investigators, Blake shot Radulescu, 44, after the trooper stopped his pickup around 1 a.m. on Highway 16. The 16-year veteran trooper died a short time later.
Investigators found Blake's abandoned pickup near a home on Sydney Avenue in Port Orchard, about two miles from the shooting scene.
Authorities believe someone gave Blake a ride from his pickup to a trailer home on Scofield Road in rural Port Orchard. Investigators have impounded a Ford Escort they say was used to take Blake to the trailer home. Detectives are trying to determine whether the driver of the Escort was aware Blake had shot the trooper.
According to a certificate of probable cause outlining the case against Foster, prosecutors allege she was at a party when she got a call from Blake sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. Thursday. He told her he needed a ride from the trailer home.
Blake told her he had done something bad and that he was "probably going to be in a lot of trouble," according to the certificate.
Foster said she noticed a lot of police activity, including a helicopter flying overhead, and assumed it had something to do with Blake, charging documents allege. Nonetheless, she walked from the party to a store, where a friend named Anthony picked her up and took her to the trailer home on Scofield Road, according to the certificate.
Blake instructed Foster to have the driver park about a quarter-mile from the trailer home, and Foster walked the rest of the way. Anthony left.
Prosecutors say Foster then called and texted a number of people, looking for a ride from the Scofield Road home.
Foster reportedly told police that Blake said "he'd shot a police officer," confiding it to her about 15 minutes to a half-hour before the SWAT team got there, according to the certificate of probable cause.
He then left the trailer and walked into the nearby woods, the certificate said. Foster told investigators she was afraid he was going to shoot himself and tried to restrain him, the document says. However, he broke away and shot himself with a .40-caliber handgun as police arrived.
"She told me she did not know what to do," her father, Wayne Foster, said. "She was totally, totally frightened and paralyzed with fear."
Foster's attorney, Jonathan Morrison, asked for a bail reduction during Friday's court hearing, saying Foster had been nowhere near the site of the "egregious" shooting of Radulescu. He said she had only two prior criminal convictions and had strong ties to the area.
But Kitsap County Prosecutor Philip Bacus successfully argued for the higher bail, saying Foster had a history of failing to appear for court hearings. Her criminal record includes a DUI in 2003 and third-degree malicious mischief in 2002. On one occasion, she came to court drunk, Bacus said.
During a news conference earlier Thursday, Boyer, the sheriff, acknowledged Foster had frequently suffered at the hands of Blake.
"If you read Blake's history, you'll see she was a victim many, many times at his hands," he said. "He's a violent individual, there's no doubt about it."
Boyer was at a loss to explain why Foster would stay with Blake after he beat her, why she would give him second chances or help him as she allegedly did on Thursday.
"That's the dynamics about these relationships," he said. "Why? I'll never understand."
Wayne Foster said Dakota, the little girl his daughter had with Blake, is being cared for by Blake's mother.
He said Foster once sent hundreds of dollars to Blake while he was in prison to pay for phone calls and candy. But when he was released, he left her for another woman.
"He used her again, as he has always done," Wayne Foster said, "and she'll be the one who pays."
Seattle Times staff reporters Jennifer Sullivan and news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report, which includes information from The Associated Press and The Kitsap Sun.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org