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Originally published April 15, 2014 at 7:20 PM | Page modified April 15, 2014 at 7:22 PM

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Nephew held in slaying of Bellevue woman

A judge set bail at $2 million for a 53-year-old Bellevue man accused of slaying his aunt.

Seattle Times staff reporter


A Bellevue man suspected of killing his elderly aunt after he relapsed on drugs was ordered held in connection with her slaying on Tuesday.

Bail for Mark J. Irwin, 53, was set at $2 million by King County District Court Judge Arthur Chapman. The deadline to file charges is Wednesday.

According to the document of probable cause, which lays out the case against him, Irwin had been living with his 72-year-old aunt, Barbara Irwin, for the past six months.

After being unable to reach her on Sunday night, a family member went to Barbara Irwin’s home in the Twelve Central Square Apartments in downtown Bellevue, used a ladder to climb onto a balcony, found her body and called 911, said Bellevue police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate.

Court documents say the back of her head was “caved in” and she was lying face down on her bed, covered with a sheet. Financial documents and bank cards were piled around the apartment, and jewelry was scattered on a bathroom sink, police said in court documents.

A roll of paper towels, a sponge and cleaner were also on the bed, police said.

Relatives told police that Mark Irwin had been living with his aunt for the past six months and had a history of drug abuse and stealing from the family, court papers say.

One relative told police she spoke to Irwin on Sunday after calling Barbara Irwin’s cellphone. She said lrwin’s speech was slurred and he sounded like he was “doing drugs again,” court documents say.

Irwin was arrested Monday morning after he and another man were spotted in the victim’s car not far from the apartment, police said. The other man told police that he and Irwin had been smoking crack, court documents say.

Bellevue police said in court documents that Irwin had blood on his shirt and scratches on his arm when he was taken into custody.

He reportedly told police that he took his aunt’s car on Saturday, drove to Seattle, smoked crack with some people he didn’t know and was robbed, court documents say.

He claimed he returned to his aunt’s apartment building but didn’t have a key so he slept on a couch in the lobby, court documents say.

According to police, Irwin asked if there was something wrong with his aunt and said she would “kick him out if he relapses.”

Court records show Irwin has a criminal history that includes convictions for robbery, theft and taking motor vehicles and was on active supervision with the state Department of Corrections for a 2011 car theft.

Christine Clarridge can be reached at or 206-464-8983. Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.

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