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Originally published Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 7:10 PM

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Man held in death of former girlfriend who set him on fire

A 42-year-old homeless man was ordered held on $2 million bail Wednesday in connection with the July slaying of his former girlfriend, 60-year-old April Frederick, who had served jail time for lighting the man on fire in February.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Four days after she was released from the King County Jail for setting her boyfriend on fire, April Frederick’s body was found July 2 in Sodo, according to Seattle police and court records.

On Thursday, a King County District Court judge ordered the former boyfriend held in lieu of $2 million bail in connection with her homicide. King County prosecutors are expected to make a decision on formal charges by Monday.

The Seattle Times is not naming the 42-year-old man because he has not yet been charged with a crime.

According to the probable-cause statement outlining the police case, Frederick’s body was found around 5:20 a.m. on the railroad tracks near the 500 block of South Spokane Street. An autopsy showed she died from strangulation and blunt-force injuries to her head and neck, it says.

“There was a transient camp a few feet from where the body was found,” and evidence at the scene showed “she had been attacked near the camp and dragged” to the railroad tracks, the statement says.

Police interviewed the suspect, who was staying in the camp with another woman; he had blood on his shoes but claimed the blood was his own, according to the statement. He “was extremely intoxicated” so detectives let him sleep for a time “until he sobered up enough to be questioned,” it says.

He denied any knowledge of the homicide and said he’d spent the night drinking with his new girlfriend and her brother until he passed out, according to the statement. Detectives collected his clothes and drove him back to the homeless camp, it says.

Frederick, 60, was identified by her fingerprints, the statement says.

Once Frederick was identified, detectives again interviewed the suspect, who again insisted he had no knowledge of the homicide and said he thought Frederick was still in jail for lighting him on fire, the statement says.

He was arrested Wednesday after the State Patrol Crime Lab sent a report to police detectives that showed blood on the man’s shoes matched Frederick’s DNA, according to the statement. The man’s DNA was also found on Frederick’s neck and ankles, it says.

At the time of her death, Frederick was the subject of a domestic-violence protection order and was not to go within 500 feet of the man, court records show.

In February 2013, police contacted Frederick and the man after a woman called 911 to report the man had been seen punching Frederick in the face near the 3600 block of Sixth Avenue South, according to court records.

Officers noticed the man had severe burns on his back and hands and was wearing burned clothing, they say.

He told police that two days earlier, he’d been asleep near the Duwamish River when he woke in the middle of the night because his back felt hot, the records say. He looked up and Frederick, who was holding a butane torch and laughing, told him he “deserved it,” according to the records.

Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center to be treated for their individual injuries, according to the records. Frederick was later booked into jail and charged with domestic-violence assault.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com



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