Four Thirty Five (435) wrote,
Four Thirty Five

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In the United States of America, a police officer is killed
approximately every 57 hours. This is wrong. In a country
where we demand freedom and liberty, we take the lives of
those who seek to keep our country free of crime so that we
CAN live the life we desire. I honor those men and women
who have laid, so valiantly, their lives on the line so that
I may walk the streets daily.

-- Kuo's Armband --

Suspect in deputy shooting charged with murder

By Dave Birkland
Seattle Times staff reporter

Ronald Keith Matthews, arrested for gunning down King County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Herzog, was charged today with aggravated first-degree murder.
The charge means Matthews, 44, could face the death penalty if convicted.

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng, who announced the charge at a news conference this morning, has 30 days to decide if he will seek the death penalty. The only punishment for someone convicted of aggravated murder is either death or life in prison without the possibility of release.

Maleng called Herzog’s slaying an "act of senseless violence which leaves us with a terrible ache in our hearts." Herzog’s life was "distinguished by dedication and country, his community and his family," he said.

Maleng said he will consider the nature of the act and any mitigating factors before deciding on the death penalty.

After struggling with Herzog and obtaining the gun, Matthews stood over the officer and fired four rounds into the back of Herzog’s head, according to charging papers.

Herzog had already been hit by shots fired by Matthews as he attempted to flee. Herzog had fallen onto the shoulder of the roadway when Matthews stood over him and fired, according to the charges.

After his arrest, police said Matthews was lucid, collected and gave detectives a statement about what he had done.

Matthews admitted smoking crack cocaine and ran into the street after his wife said he was scaring her.

Herzog encountered Matthews in the 7000 block of Coal Creek Parkway in Newcastle as Matthews ran naked in traffic and pounded on the door of a bus, demanding to be let inside.

Herzog tried to talk calmly to Matthews, but Matthews charged the deputy. One witness heard Matthews say: "I’m not afraid of you." During the struggle, officers heard Herzog say "step it up" indicating he needed help quickly from other deputies on the way to the scene.

The pepper spray used on Matthews had no effect, and he knocked Herzog down and attempted to get his gun. The gun fell to the ground as a bystander tried to help by pushing Matthews. Matthews then picked up the .40 caliber Glock pistol, and separately, the magazine containing the bullets because it had fallen out of the pistol.

Matthews reloaded the weapon and fired at Herzog, running after him as the deputy tried to get away. At that point, bystanders who were coming to Herzog’s aid backed away and took cover when they saw Matthews had a gun.

Witnesses said that when Herzog fell and was shot four more times, he was killed instantly.

Matthews then went back toward his apartment, continuing to fire the gun and hitting a bystander’s car. Police recovered 16 spent cartridges.

Afterwards, Matthews said he went into his apartment where he read the Bible, put Herzog’s gun under a mattress, called his mother, a friend and then the police to surrender. When he called 911, Matthews said he "deserved the death penalty" for what he had done, according to the charges.

When police approached, however, Matthews came out onto the balcony of his apartment then went back inside. He later came out of the apartment and was arrested without a struggle.

Matthews told detectives he was on medication for mental illness and suffers blackouts when he smokes crack cocaine.

(Other Seattle Times Articles)

Rest in peace, Deputy Richard Herzog. The King County Sheriff's Department lost a good man.

THIS is the reason I still support the death penalty.


As many of you know, my father is a sheriff's deputy in Oregon. Every day my father leaves for work, my mother and I have to come to grips with the possibility that WE MAY NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN. Herzog left behind a wife of 20 years and two daughters... My heart breaks for them. Herzog was the same age as my father...

20 years in the US Army, in the Special Forces. Seven years with King County. One moment... and it's gone. Crackhead took it all away.

My father's been with the Benton County Sheriff's Office for longer than I've been breathing. I don't know what I would do if something like this happened...

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