Seattle police have arrested a parolee previously at the center of a heated dispute between Department of Corrections officials in Washington and Georgia for a fatal attack on his girlfriend, a school teacher, outside of her Greenwood home on Christmas Eve.
Earlier this year, Department of Corrections officials in Washington battled with authorities in Georgia over parolee Johnnie Lee Wiggins, after he attacked a Community Corrections Officer during a visit to Wiggins’ north Seattle home.
In 2008, Wiggins—a 48-year-old professional bodybuilder—was released from prison in Georgia for an assault charge and put on probation. He petitioned a national parole board to let him complete his probation in Washington state, where he was supposed to be under state supervision until January 2013.
According to law enforcement sources, Wiggins has prior convictions including theft, assault, and exposing himself in public. Law enforcement records describe Wiggins as “high energy and a smooth operator,” and note that he has had problems with drugs and issues and “sexual deviancy.”
Wiggins stayed out of trouble in Washington, working at a North Seattle gym and living at a nearby studio apartment, until last summer, when he began having problems with his Community Corrections Officer.
According to police records, Wiggins was “uncooperative and intimidating” when his parole officer visited him in April, slamming the door in his face and telling him he planned to move to avoid having further contact with D.O.C.
Wiggins attacked another parole officer at his home during a second visit in May, before officers arrested him at Taser-point. When police searched Wiggins’ home, they found a large quantity of illegal steroids.
Washington D.O.C. officials believed that Wiggins’ attack on the officer and felony steroid possession violated the terms of his interstate probation agreement, and should have resulted in Georgia authorities extraditing him to complete his original sentence for the assault case.
However, Georgia authorities refused to extradite Wiggins, and simply asked him to voluntarily returned to his home state. This would’ve meant Washington would’ve had to foot the bill to incarcerate Wiggins for his new crimes, or pay to send him back to Georgia.
Instead, Washington DOC filed a complaint with a national parole commission to force the issue, and Wiggins eventually voluntarily returned to Georgia, according to Georgia DOC officials.
Now, police say Wiggins is responsible for killing his girlfriend after returning to Seattle.
According to Seattle police, the victim, a 55-year-old woman, stepped outside her home to talk to her boyfriend, identified by a police source and jail records as Wiggins. Police say several witnesses heard shouting and then a “loud thump.” The woman’s 13-year-old daughter came out of the home and found her mother on the ground outside of the house, and saw Wiggins walking away from her.
Medics and police came to the scene and took the woman to Harborview with a life-threatening head injury. She died the next day, on Christmas.
Seattle police arrested Wiggins Wednesday afternoon and booked him into the King County Jail for homicide.
It’s unclear why Wiggins was back in Seattle after the interstate parole dispute, and whether he served any time in Georgia for violating the terms of his parole.
He has not been charged in the murder case.
We have calls in to DOC officials in Washington and Georgia.
UPDATE: Law enforcement sources have identified the victim as a Woodinville High School teacher. Her family and friends have set up a memorial page here.
Washington Department of Corrections officials have reiterated that authorities in Georgia took custody of Wiggins and that he was no longer being supervised by the Washington DOC.