Dave Reichert did NOT catch the Green River Killer

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  As long as the Reichert campaign is bringing up the issue of resume padding, isn’t it time the media address the real elephant in the room… the simple fact that Reichert’s entire political career is based on the out and out lie that he caught the Green River Killer?  Of course, he didn’t, and most everybody in the media understands that, but nobody is willing to say it publicly because it was the media after all, that willfully gave life to this self-aggrandizing myth.

So in the spirit of full disclosure, I am reprinting this October 2006 special post by Michael Hood, originally titled “It’s the Green River, Stupid.”  And you can read Part II of Michael’s report over on his blog, BlatherWatch. In the meanwhile, please help Darcy refute the lies, by generously giving to her one last time. — GOLDY]

I am not afraid, I’ve had people point guns at me.
— Rep. Dave Reichert

“He desecrated the victims. The public ought to know that.” Tomas Guillen is describing Republican 8th District Congressman Dave Reichert and his manipulation of the Green River murder investigation and the arrest of Gary Ridgway to climb up into party politics.

Guillen’s no political firebrand, he’s a respected Seattle University journalism and criminal justice professor. But as a Seattle Times reporter, he covered the Green River story from its beginnings and has written two books on the subject.

His academic text, Serial Killers: Issues Explored Through the Green River Murders, and Ridgway attorney Mark Prothero’s Defending Gary, both written after Reichert’s 2004 election, tell a starkly different story than does Reichert’s ghost-written autohagiography, Chasing the Devil, My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer.

Reichert’s record as sheriff was exposed in last week’s devastating reporting by the P-I’s Lewis Kamb who found plenty of former colleagues who’d reveal him to be “an ambitious self-promoter, an inexperienced manager prone to poor decisions, even a close-minded detective more obstacle than asset to a serial murder investigation.”

Reichert refused to be interviewed in person for the P-I’s piece, preferring to answer the reporter’s questions in writing. He did not return our attempts at contact.

(The written material, and people we’ve talked to use some strong adjectives to describe the former Sheriff’s professional behavior: manipulative, self-serving, amateurish, ambitious, creepy, bungling, inappropriate, opportunistic, egotistical, voyeuristic, and stubborn. These are quite different from the descriptives we’ve been hearing for years: heroic, gracious, sensitive, muscular, chivalrous, well-mannered, brave, clean and reverent. You decide).

Sheriff Reichert became the public face of the sensational arrest of the serial killer by elbowing his way in front of the cameras on November 30, 2000 when the sensational collar was announced.

Everyone knows Reichert is the guy who caught the Green River killer- Why? Because he reminds us in every introduction; every speech, interview, and on his website.

It helped get him elected in 2004 in his race against KIRO radio host, Dave Ross; and he still flogs it every time he opens his mouth in his race against Darcy Burner.

Recently, on KUOW’s Weekday with Steve Scher, (in a rare appearance in a venue where he might be seriously questioned) he referenced serial killers no fewer than three times in one hour on the local NPR talk show despite being asked no questions on the subject by Scher, who’s unused to politicians who drop blood instead of names.

Here’s an example: Why is Reichert against abortion? He told a interviewer recently, “I have a great respect for life. I’ve seen a lot of death in my career, worked Green River, seen lots of dead bodies.”

Back in Washington, the Honorable Mr. Reichert is known as the Man from Green River- his longest speech on the House floor during his lackluster first term was about “capturing” Gary Ridgway.

The release of Chasing the Devil, in late July, 2004 was exquisitely synched-up with his primary campaign which was a difficult one with a crowded Republican field anxious to replace the retiring Jennifer Dunn.

Bolstered by both his publisher’s marketing and his own political campaign, it was a perfect PR storm. Reichert’s face was thrust onto the front pages of local papers. He was interviewed on CNN and Court TV in full dress uniform (and every hair present and accounted for) talking about “capturing” the killer.

“Reichert used the serial murder case to move forward,” Guillen told BlatherWatch. “It was a travesty.” Photos released when Ridgway was arrested show Reichert in a suit posing in the bottom of a ravine near the Des Moines Highway.

“He used the grave site of a murder victim for personal ambition,” he says.

Meanwhile, his opponents, Bellevue Councilman Conrad Lee, State Sen. Luke Esser and (now GOP State Chairman) Diane Tebelius were lucky if they made page B-1 with their little coffee klatches, blah-blah press releases, and cheesy meet & greets.

(Chasing the Devil was neither a literary nor a popular success. P-I books critic, John Marshall wrote that Reichert painted himself as “muscular, charismatic, devoutly Christian, a dogged mix of Dudley Do-Right and the Lone Ranger.” Not exactly a bestseller: you can now buy a like new copy on Amazon for $1.74.)

Although otherwise a failure, his book as a political instrument was inspired. Media was flooded with pictures of the sheriff in a hunky muscle shirt sifting for bones at a body dump site, or in full Sheriffian regalia sternly leaning into and staring down the cowering serial killer from across a table. Reichert won the primary easily and got a tremendous knee-up in the November election.

(There’s his hair. It’s magnificent. Dave Ross told us: “He’s got great hair, he’s acknowledged he’s got great hair.” He’s known in legal circles as “Sheriff Hairspray.” [Reichert’s hair]… is always ready for the next photo opportunity,” says Prothero).

“My standing orders were that we were going to campaign on issues,” says Dave Ross. “Rumors I got about Dave or the Green River killer or the release of the book- we weren’t going to touch them.”

But there’s more than a little resume inflation going on in Chasing the Devil. There’s some obfuscatin’. Reichert had been “lead detective” in 1982 as the first bodies surfaced in and around the Green River. His book, however, would let you believe he held the title until 1990, never mentioning that several other detectives led in later murders.

The book is more than three quarters done before he makes passing reference to the fact that the task force had commanders over the “lead detectives.” Former Detective Bob Keppel told the P-I, Reichert was “one detective among many,” and never led discussions about the direction of the task force as a true leader would have.

Actually, he had little to do with the investigation having left the task force in 1990 to climb the bureaucratic ladder in the Sheriff’s Department. What’s more, these new accounts show how Reichert’s tremendous ego was responsible for early police blunders that stalled the investigation and let Gary Ridgway continue killing for decades.

But great hair or not, “He got elected based on Green River, when in fact, he didn’t solve it and he didn’t win against Gary Ridgway,” says Guillen.”

The fact is: technology caught the killer, not Detective Reichert’s dogged shoe-leather sleuthing as his press so dramatically implies. Even then, on Sheriff Reichert’s watch, the saliva sample that could have busted Ridgway as early as 1996 when the DNA technology became available, was not tested until 2001.

Women died in that interim.

[Click through to read It’s the Green River, Stupid: Part 2, including the really creepy parts.  And please don’t forget to give to Darcy.  Thanks.]


  1. 1

    bluesky spews:

    It is so ironic that Reichert has had a vote for me me me ad up at the top of your front page for days. So you get bucks from him as he is royally and rightfully dissed in the postings below his ad. Ha ha ha ha!

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    King 5 News reports that a 42-year-old Renton man has been arrested for stealing 135 yard signs belonging to 44th District Democratic legislative candidate Marcie Maxwell.

  3. 3

    busdrivermike spews:

    Been saying it for years. Welcome to the party, Goldy.

    Not only did Reichert not catch Gary Ridgeway, Ridgeway spent a considerable amount of time laughing at Reichart during interogations. He thought it was hilarious that Reichert liked to talk about the sexual torture of Ridgeway’s victims.

    Reichert spent months talking to Ridgeway about sex. This after Ridgeway had already confessed to everything.

  4. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Goldy will take Reichert’s money. I take money from Republicans, too. When it’s in my paws, they can’t do anything nefarious with it. I’m saving them from themselves.

  5. 7

    busdrivermike spews:

    Hell, Reichert couldn’t even catch a school bus driver flipping off Junior Bush.

    The best thing that ever happened to Gary Ridgeway was Reichert being put on that case. Reichert used the investigation to keep a cushy desk job for fifteen years.

    Ever notice how every time the Green River Killer unit would get targeted for a budget cut, an “anonymous source” would start detailing how close they were to catching the killer?

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 A governor with net assets of $2 million and an annual income of $240,000 can’t afford clothes? Then she should shop Goodwill like the rest of the poor folks.

  7. 12

    Rick D. spews:

    It appears Goldy’s diaper is full….he’s using Bold type in an angry childish tantrum.
    Will one of his faithfull marionettes in here please use the changing table down the hall?
    Thanks in advance.

    BTW ~ Has anyone investigated why Darcy Burner burned down her home awhile back? I’m sure the insurance money came at a very handy time for her~ to run her election this time around. If only we could get her to quit lying about her resume, she might convince someone that she’s actually adult enough for the job.

    God knows she’s got all the hayseeds in here behind her.

  8. 13

    rhp6033 spews:

    Silly D & 12: Goldy’s just using a different type to distinguish between his comments and the writer of the post. But you knew that, or reasonably should have known.

  9. 14

    What'sittoya spews:

    A McCain volunteer gets beat up, robbed and a B carved into her face by her Obama-supporting assailant. C’mon you guys—surely you don’t support this?

  10. 15

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    I wonder if Reichert would have had better luck if he had a fake economics degree????? Who knows.


    Sorry for changing the subject on this thread devoted to changing the subject.


  11. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m watching NBC’s Brian Williams interveiewing John McCain and Sarah Palin on channel 5 (NBC Nightly News).

    Williams asked Palin if Bill Ayers should be defined as a “terrorist” and whether she would include people who bomb abortion clinics in that definition.

    Palin responded that Ayers is a “terrorist” because he wanted to “destroy America” and “kill Americans” and “destroy the Capitol and Pentagon.” (Rabbit n.b.: That’s a pretty ambitious agenda for a pipe bomb.)

    She didn’t answer Williams’ question about abortion clinic bombers, so he asked her again. She answered, “I would include anyone who wants to destroy America and kill Americans and destroy the Capitol and Pentagon in the definition of terrorist.” In other words, she refused to label abortion clinic bombers as “terrorists.”

    Meanwhile, McCain was ogling Palin’s legs.

  12. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    To his credit, when McCain got a word in edgewise he did condemn abortion clinic bombings. But Palin refused to. Which raises a legitimate question of whether a President Palin, either tacitly or overtly, would encourage federal investigators and prosecutors to look the other way at abortion clinic attacks.

  13. 18

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    I wonder if Brian Williams will ask Obama whether he thinks people who plant bombs outside a 13 year old’s bedroom is a terrorist???? Just axing.

  14. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @18 Without a doubt Obama’s answer to that question would be an unequivocal and unqualified “yes.” As would mine, and the answer of every other liberal on this board. Only a stupid dog has to “wonder” about something like that. Everyone else already knows the answer.

  15. 20

    What'sittoya spews:

    “Voter ‘fraud house’ ballots in Ohio will be cancelled.”

    Thank. Goodness. Fraud should NOT be a part of any election. Period.

  16. 21

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    As would mine, and the answer of every other liberal on this board.

    Williams asked Palin if Bill Ayers should be defined as a “terrorist”

    Well it seems like Williams needs some help. roof roof.

  17. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 The only help you need is the assistance of a veterinarian in putting you to sleep. That’s right, dog, the last thing you’re going to see on this planet is a veterinarian snapping on a pair of rubber gloves and smiling at you as he taps the syringe. All you’ll be aware of is one little jab and then — LIGHTS OUT!!


  18. 23

    Winky Dink spews:

    Thanks to all the trolls and other Republican mouthbreathers for keeping everyone’s anxiety level up. The vote will be so huge you won’t be able to cheat your way to victory.

    I hope the men assigned to protecting Obama are on his payroll and not the CIA’s.

  19. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Bush Voters Flock To Obama

    “Senator Barack Obama is showing surprising strength among portions of the political coalition that returned George W. Bush to the White House four years ago, … according to the latest New York Times/CBS News polls.

    “Underscoring the building strength of Mr. Obama’s candidacy in the final phase of the campaign, he was ahead of Mr. McCain among various groups that voted for Mr. Bush four years ago: those with incomes greater than $50,000 a year; married women; suburbanites; white Catholics, and is even competitive among white men — a group that has not voted for a Democrat over a Republican since 1972, when pollsters began surveying people after they voted.

    ” … [O]verall, the poll found that Mr. Obama would defeat Mr. McCain if the election were held now, with 52 percent of those identified as probable voters saying they would vote for Mr. Obama and 39 percent of them saying they would vote for Mr. McCain.

    “Among registered voters, the spread between the two is almost identical, with 51 percent saying they would vote for Mr. Obama and 38 percent saying they would vote for Mr. McCain. …

    “Despite Mr. McCain’s continued questioning of Mr. Obama’s readiness, the number of voters surveyed who say Mr. Obama has prepared himself well enough for the presidency was at its highest yet in the newest poll ….

    “And there was fresh evidence that Mr. McCain’s attacks on Mr. Obama’s character and qualifications … were, if anything, harming Mr. McCain. The percentage of people who view Mr. McCain unfavorably was at its highest level since The Times and CBS began asking the question in 1999 ….”

    (Quoted from MSNBC under fair use.)

    Suck on it, Repugs! Your boy is going down! His right-hand wench is going down with him! You’re going down with them both! Sayonara, fascist traitors!

  20. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I see in the news that McCain doesn’t plan to join his supporters’ Election Eve party at a hotel in downtown Phoenix. He’ll be sequestered with a small group of handpicked reporters on the lawn out front. Let me guess. Maybe he’s afraid his supporters will be mad at him for blowing this election with the worst-run campaign of the last 50 years?

  21. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m beginning to think the pollsters may be too cautious and Obama/Biden could run the table on McCain and his abortion bomber loving sidekick. What I mean is, when you see organizations like “Rednecks For Obama” springing up, that’s not a good sign for the angry little bald guy and the chick with the 1950s beehive hairdo.

  22. 28

    Rick D. spews:

    haha…Roger Roadkill using the Old York Times and MSNBC as informational sources. Why stop there roadkill, I’m sure ‘the Nation’ or Daily Kos has some other ‘politically neutral’ information to disepense to your hayseed buddies here.

    git’ on it boy

  23. 29

    Michael spews:

    There are links all over the place between the right and the far right. They do try to keep the stormtroopers at arms length with a degree or two of separation, but the links are there and there are too many “Palin’s” out there that refuse to speak out against violence when it serves their world view.

  24. 31

    zapporo spews:

    Where exactly WAS Barrack Hussein Obama born?
    We certainly wouldn’t want a dusty old document to get in the way of his coronation?

  25. 32

    slingshot spews:

    The curious mystery that escapes explanation is how Americans fall for that uniform, epulets, breast decoration and perfect hair shit.
    I guess there’s just enough Nazi, homo-eroticism in every neo-Republican*, eh?

    *neo used to distinguish the new “Rethugs” from their not so distant ancestor. Remember them; low taxes, no deadbeats, nonsheep-like, who the fuck cares what you do in your bedroom, Republicans?

  26. 33

    Michael spews:


    He was born in Hawaii a couple of years AFTER statehood. He’s produced his birth certificate.

    McSame is the one that wasn’t born in the U.S.

  27. 35

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    Thanks to all the trolls and other Republican mouthbreathers for keeping everyone’s anxiety level up. The vote will be so huge you won’t be able to cheat your way to victory.

    I know when Obama loses you donks can’t claim fraud…thanks ACORN. hehehehe

  28. 36

    YLB spews:

    Only the bottom of the barrel wingnuts left, the true Bush-worshipping believers.

    Stick around fellas. You’ll be great entertainment as the orchestra of your right wing bullshit plays as the Republican Titanic slowly sinks.

  29. 37

    YLB spews:

    a 42-year-old Renton man has been arrested for stealing 135 yard signs belonging to 44th District Democratic legislative candidate Marcie Maxwell.

    Another wingnut bites the dust. That’s one endangered species that shall be allowed to lapse into extinction.

  30. 38

    Rick D. spews:

    Goldstain is in full meltdown…sort of amusing and sort of pathetic. Not sure if it’s the realization that Darcy is headed into a death spiral politically or that he’s losing his site in a month or so from now.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures…and Goldy is exhibit A of that. Get some sleep Goldy, you’ve been tilting at windmills since the story broke of Darcy’s fabrication of her actual degree earned from Harvard U.

  31. 41

    The Real Puddybud spews:

    Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released Wednesday discovered specifically: “By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don’t favor either candidate, and 13% say they don’t know which candidate most reporters support.

    In the current campaign, Republicans, Democrats and independents all feel that the media wants to see Obama win the election. Republicans are almost unanimous in their opinion: 90% of GOP voters say most journalists are pulling for Obama. More than six-in-ten Democratic and independent voters (62% each) say the same.

    Whodathunkit? The libtard MSM is still libtard!

  32. 42


    YLB, why are you celebrating the disappearance of Republicans? Do you think things will be so much better when only Democrats are around running things?

    Let’s see if you’re right. Let’s take a look at a few cities where there are only Democrats in the picture. Where Democrats run the city from top to bottom…

    – Detroit
    – Baltimore
    – New Orleans
    – Newark
    – St Louis
    – Oakland
    – Wash DC
    – Cincinnati
    – Philadelphia
    – Buffalo

    Guess what, these ten cities also have the highest murder rates in the nation.

    Yeah, I can’t wait till Democrats run everything. (And I’m one of them).

  33. 50

    Rujax! spews:


    I guess to a moron like you “motherfucker” in this context is not a negative pejorative.


    You’re a racist motherfucker…AND you’re wrong.

    Look…he’s a happy shithead now. Isn’t that cute.

  34. 53

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m a comments hog and an asshole. I’ve got an opinion on everything. I don’t know anything about anything but I can’t shut up. I go to sleep each night and dream I’m Goldy. When I wake up I’m still Rabbit. Will somebody stuff a rag in my keyboard!

  35. 54

    Bud spews:

    There’s reporting, then there’s Hood’s story. It might even mostly be true, but it is done at such a slant that purported facts are twisted, and ultimately I have to distrust it for its single-minded purpose. This pgh in particular:

    The fact is: technology caught the killer, not Detective Reichert’s dogged shoe-leather sleuthing as his press so dramatically implies. Even then, on Sheriff Reichert’s watch, the saliva sample that could have busted Ridgway as early as 1996 when the DNA technology became available, was not tested until 2001.

    In truth, persistence by the task force, which Reichert as sheriff oversaw, caught the killer: The reason the sample wasn’t tested until 2001 was that, while DNA testing wasn’t new, the technology to test that sample was. You can look it up.

    By the way, I’m a D. Burner supporter. I just hate lousy journalism.