Court rejects murder appeal

Johnathan Harris was convicted in 2016 for murdering local Nicole White. His attempt to appeal his guilty plea failed.

Jonathan Harris will remain behind bars for the 2015 murder of former Enumclaw resident Nicole White.

Last week, his effort to overturn a lengthy prison sentence was rejected by the Court of Appeals.

As part of an agreement in July 2016, Harris, 32, had pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree. He was then sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Harris appealed, arguing that his guilty plea was not “voluntary and intelligent” because he wasn’t aware of all the evidence against him.

Deputy Prosecutor Robin Sand argued to the Court of Appeals that Harris voluntarily pleaded guilty and knew the evidence against him was strong.

The Court of Appeals agreed and noted that Harris had previously waived his right to appeal his sentence. The Court found that Harris failed to meet the standard to merit withdrawal of his plea and affirmed Harris’ convictions and the prison sentence.

The tale that ended in White’s murder started on June 6, 2015, when White picked Harris up from his home and they drove to Jeepers Country Bar and Grill in Spanaway. Several hours later, witnesses saw the two leave the bar together in White’s car. White never made it home and was reported missing on the following day.

During the next two weeks, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, and volunteers conducted an extensive search. On June 20, a K-9 from a volunteer search-and-rescue team found White’s body at the bottom of wooded ravine south of Lake Kapowsin.

Detectives believe that after she and Harris left the bar, they drove back to Harris’ house. Harris admitted to severely beating White, causing her death. He wrapped White in a tarp, loaded her into her car, drove to the wooded area and rolled her down the ravine. Then, he drove her car off the side of the road near his house and walked home.

The next day, according to cell phone records and data stored on the ignition interlock device in his vehicle, Harris drove his car back to the site where he dumped White’s body.

During a search of Harris’ home, detectives located the sweatshirt he was wearing at the bar the night White disappeared. DNA from blood on the sweatshirt was a match to White.

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