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Originally published August 27, 2014 at 7:36 PM | Page modified August 28, 2014 at 12:17 PM

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No charges against detective accused of tipping off former deputy

A King County sheriff’s major-crimes detective accused of tipping off a colleague about a criminal investigation focused on him will not face criminal charges.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Blue protects blue. Is anyone surprised? MORE
A crooked county cop stays on the payroll. Business as usual. MORE
Great piece in the NY Times yesterday about how cops are shielded from accountability in even the most egregious cases.... MORE


A King County sheriff’s detective will not face criminal charges over allegations she tipped off former Deputy Darrion Keith Holiwell that he was under investigation in a prostitution and theft case, the King County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday.

The Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday its investigation showed that Robin Cleary “shared information with Darrion Holiwell concerning an allegation of domestic violence by his estranged wife.”

While sharing the information did violate her responsibilities within the Sheriff’s Office, there was insufficient evidence to prove what she did was with criminal intent, according to the prosecutor.

Cleary remains on administrative leave, Sheriff John Urquhart said Wednesday.

“The administrative investigation is finished, and the file was sent to her chain of command for a finding. ‘Finding’ means can the allegations be sustained or not. I expect that part of the process will be completed in two weeks or so,” Urquhart wrote in an email.

Holiwell, 49, was charged in June with helping his wife work as a prostitute, theft and a drug crime. At the time, Cleary and another deputy, identified by a law-enforcement source as Deputy Chris Kahrs, were placed on paid leave.

Kahrs was Holiwell’s partner at the Sheriff’s Office gun range, Urquhart said.

Kahrs is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, but Urquhart declined to disclose the allegations against him.

Kahrs also remains on administrative leave.

When Holiwell was charged, prosecutors offered as evidence that he may have been tipped to the investigation the fact that a search of a gun safe at his home “did not locate a single firearm in the residence; the gun safe was empty.”

“Nor did they locate even a single round of ammunition,” prosecutors wrote in charging documents.

Witnesses told investigators that Holiwell’s safe would normally be filled with firearms.

Holiwell was sentenced to 366 days in prison Aug. 4, after pleading guilty to second-degree promoting prostitution, domestic violence, first-degree theft and violating a drug law.

But prosecutors are trying to have him returned to court to be sentenced to more time for allegedly lying about his finances.

When Holiwell was sentenced, his former lawyer told Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller that Holiwell was broke. Heller waived court costs and reduced Holiwell’s fine for second-degree promoting prostitution from the mandatory $3,000 to $1,000 because Holiwell was found to be indigent, prosecutors said.

Investigators have learned that three weeks before he was sentenced, Holiwell had completed and notarized paperwork to cash out his retirement fund for more than $180,000, according to a motion to vacate judgment filed Monday by King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff. Prosecutors have since obtained a court order to freeze Holiwell’s bank account.

Prosecutors are now asking a judge to vacate the sentence and resentence him.

If brought back to court for sentencing, Holiwell could face the top-of-the-range sentence of 20 months in prison.

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report, which includes information from Times archives. Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

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