TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged 29-year-old Jonathan Daniel Harris with murder in the first degree for killing Nicole White, 28, who went missing earlier this year. Harris pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
In June, Harris was charged with, and pleaded not guilty to, murder in the second degree. The charge was amended to murder in the first degree because an analysis by a forensic anthropologist determined White was brutally beaten to death.
“Thanks to forensic examination and persistent police work, we now have evidence to support a charge of murder in the first degree,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We’re holding the defendant fully accountable.”
On June 6, 2015, 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. She never made it home and was reported missing on June 7.
Over 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 a wooded ravine south of Lake Kapowsin. Her body was wrapped in a green tarp and was severely decomposed.
Detectives believe that after the two left the bar, they drove back to Harris’ house. He beat White to death and wrapped her in the tarp. Harris loaded White 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.
A forensic anthropologist determined White had severe facial, chest and arm fractures. The injuries are consistent with being stomped.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office