- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - A 52-year-old man was sentenced to Thursday to 17 years in prison for beating his sister until she died.

David Thorsen pleaded guilty to murder last month for the 2013 Arlington killing, reports the Daily Herald (https://bit.ly/1dDBKP0 ).

Although lawyers recommended a 13-year sentence as part of the plea agreement, Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair said she couldn’t overlook some of the more disturbing elements of the crime.

“This is indeed a family tragedy,” she said.

Thorsen is said to have repeatedly punched and kicked 53-year-old Karen Harris before hauling her body out to a field behind a riding lawnmower.

When Harris’ son became concerned because his mother didn’t answer her phone, Thorsen lied to him. The son later filed a missing person’s report.

He also drove his sister’s car to the store to buy alcohol.

Thorsen’s surviving sisters asked the judge not to show him any leniency.

“This man, David Thorsen, is not my brother. He is a murderer,” one sister said Thursday. “He deserves the full punishment for this crime.”

Thorsen apologized on Thursday. He began to cry as a second sister talked about the devastation his actions caused.

Harris was killed the same day her elderly mother’s body was found at the bottom of the basement stairs. A medical examiner concluded that that death was consistent with a fall.

Just two months earlier, their father had died in what the King County medical examiner ruled a presumed fall.

Thorsen had been living with his parents. Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives have not referred any charges to the prosecutor’s office in connection with those deaths.

Harris came to the house after learning of her mother’s death and stayed after the authorities left. Neighbors say they heard screaming that afternoon.

Later, Thorsen used his mother’s debit card to withdraw $500 and bought groceries, including several bottles of alcohol.

When a sheriff’s deputy approached Thorsen while investigating Harris’ disappearance, the man appeared to be attempting to end his own life by breathing exhaust fumes from his car.

Court papers say police found letters indicating that Thorsen was angry at his Harris, his mother and his brother.

Harris’ body was found under a blanket in a nearby field.


Information from: The Daily Herald, https://www.heraldnet.com

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