Teacher Murdered by Stalker While WA State Legislature Bickers: “There is Another Grieving Family Here”

Jennifer Ann Paulson

Fasten you seat belts, folks, I’m going on a rant!

What the hell is it going to take for the judges in Pierce County, WA and the legislators in Olympia to get their collective heads out of their asses?

There was a horrendous earthquake in Santiago, Chile this morning.  The Olympics is drawing to a close up in British Columbia.  But, the story of greatest interest to folks in Seattle and Tacoma, WA today is the murder of Jennifer Ann Paulson.  If these politicians think the public isn’t mad as hell, they aren’t paying attention.

We had four dead cops in Lakewood and another one in Eatonville.  I thought surely the legislators would get it, but they were busy rearranging the proverbial deck chairs instead of protecting a beloved teacher at Birney Elementary School in Tacoma.  Ms. Paulson was murdered 30 minutes before a public hearing on denying bail convened in Olympia.  While they bickered, she was murdered.

Jennifer Ann Paulson did everything she was supposed to do.  The school administrators and the Tacoma cops and her family did everything they knew how to do to protect her.

The Tacoma cops arrested Jed Ryan Waits, who had been stalking Ms. Paulson for years, last Friday (February 19) for violating her anti-harassment order.  He spent the weekend in jail.  But, on Monday morning, the court granted him bail.  The court didn’t take away his gun.  The prosecutor didn’t try to figure out some way to keep him behind bars.

They let him out even though there was abundant evidence  his obsession with Ms. Paulson was escalating and he would likely murder her on the grounds of the elementary school where she worked:

  • He was formally disciplined more than once by the Washsington Army National Guard.
  • He was an intelligence analyst in the military with high security clearance.  However, the Guard busted him to private and gave him a less than honorable discharge in April 2009.
  • He attacked a tenant’s boyfriend in November, 2008 and was charged with fourth-degree assault and sentenced to a year’s probation in Feburary, 2009.
  • His probation was extended for another six months in August, 2009 because he failed to provide proof he had attended court-mandated counseling.
  • The tenant filed an anti-harassment order against him.
  • He called Ms. Paulson 10-15 times/day.  They had never been involved romantically.  They were co-workers in a college cafeteria.
  • He made numerous 250 mile round trips from Ellensburg, WA to Tacoma, WA to stalk Ms. Paulson.
  • He showed up unannounced and uninvited at the school where she taught.
  • Her father told him to stay away from his daughter, but a month later he brought gifts to her school.
  • Her principal reported him to his Guard commander.
  • He sat ouside her school during September, 2008 watching her.
  • He was served with an anti-harassment order on September 18, 2008 which was later was extended to September 25, 2010.
  • He was arrested for stalking Ms. Paulson on February 19, 2010 and booked into jail for the weekend.
  • The police detective in charge of the case called Ms. Paulson on Monday evening to alert her that he made bail and was out of jail.

The police detective knew she was clearly in danger, but the Pierce County “justice” system ~ once again ~ somehow couldn’t see the handwriting on the wall.

Jennifer Ann Paulson Was Gunned Down on the School Playground

Friday morning, February 26, Jed Ryan Waits waited two hours outside Birney Elementary for Ms. Paulson to come to work at 7:30 AM.  She was with a colleague.  Without saying a word, he fired three shots and killed Ms. Paulson.  The fire department arrived within seven minutes to find Ms. Paulson bleeding profusely, but there was nothing they could do to save her life.

Within a half hour, a deputy spotted Waits’ car and pulled him over.  Ironically, it was at a day care parking lot in Frederickson.  When Waits fired at the officer, the deputy returned fire and killed him.

Four hundred children go to Birney Elementary.  The newspapers didn’t say how many kids were already at the daycare center.

Jennifer Ann Paulson Was Beloved by Her Students and Family

Ms. Paulson taught kids with learning disabilities and volunteered to tutor at-risk kids.  The mother of one of her students told the Tacoma News Tribune:

She really did something life-changing for my daughter and our family.  She was an excellent teacher and an excellent person too.  There was something special about her relationship with kids.

She earned her bachelor of arts degree from Seattle Pacific University in special education in 2003.  In June, she earned her master’s in education at the University of Washington-Tacoma where she was a star student.  The day before she was murdered, she completed paperwork for state certification.

She became a special-ed teacher because her baby brother Jason had struggled in school.

One thing I know my daugher would want brought to attention is that

there is another grieving family here.

– Nancy Heisler, Jennifer’s mother, is on the left

Ken Paulson, Jennifer’s father, and his wife Cindy

Pierce County and Olympia:  What if Jennifer Had Been YOUR Daughter?

Pierce County has a very long history of callous disregard toward domestic violence.  They didn’t lock up domestic violence perpetrators Tacoma Chief of Police David Brame or the DC Sniper or Isaiah M.K. Kalebu or Maurice Clemmons or Darrel Street or David E. Crable or dozens of other people they knew or should have known would kill.

Judge Thomas Felnagle refused to grant bail to a couple of punks who savagely murdered a stray dog, but he let Maurice Clemmons go home to further terrorize his 12-year-old step-daughter, who he allegedly raped.  Maurice Clemmons assassinated four cops in Lakewood while out on bail.

The legislature got all excited when David E. Crable, who had been abusing his 16-year-old daughter for years, killed a deputy sheriff and wounded his partner.  Crable’s daughter Bryona had to rescue the cops who were supposed to be protecting her.

Legislature Bickers and Keeps the Status Quo Firmly Entrenched

Did the legislators in Olympia focus on the domestic violence underlying these killing sprees?  Hell, no!  Did they try to pass a law to deny bail to domestic violence perpetrators?  Hell no!

The law enforcement task force focused on protecting the cops rather than people experiencing domestic violence.  Gov. Christine Gregoire, who perpetually evidences callous disregard for domestic violence, according to the Seattle Times:

The original bill proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire would have let judges deny bail if they determined that the suspect posed a public safety risk, but in order to get enough support in the House, the criteria was narrowed to those who would face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole and if the suspect is considered dangerous.

By the time the bill got to the state senate, Judiciary Committee Chairman Adam Kline, who also has his head up his ass, said:

A prediction of violence is a shot in the dark right now.  We’re not going to have judges deny a consititutional right on a hunch.

Rep. Mike Hope and Rep. Chris Hurst, who are former cops, went ballistic.  Rep. Hurst told the Seattle Times:

I can’t remember a time when a couple folks sat down behind closed doors and didn’t talk to their colleagues, didn’t talk to the law-enforcement community.

We will not leave this session without this legislation.  This is the most important piece of criminal-justice legislation in decades.


The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing a half hour after Ms. Paulson was gunned down.  I’m willing to bet they still didn’t get it.

We the People get it.  And, we’re mad as hell at your callous disregard for our safety and welfare.