Christopher Wright, 52, and Nichole Asphy, 48, were arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Kenneth Ruffer in White Center more than 20 years ago.
King County prosecutors charged a man and a woman on Wednesday with first-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting that took place more than two decades ago in White Center.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested 52-year-old Christopher Wright, who also goes by the name Ceshawn Dade, and Nichole Asphy, 48, on Wednesday morning, according to the sheriff’s office and charging papers. Both were booked into the King County Jail.
Hours after the arrests were made public, prosecutors filed the murder charges, accusing Asphy of setting up the alleged victim to be robbed and shot by two men: Wright and a second man who was killed in an unrelated homicide in 2001.
According to the charges:
On Nov. 27, 1995, sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle parked in the 200 block of Southwest 97th Place with the engine running. The person who called 911 reported seeing shell casings at the scene and what appeared to be blood smeared on the side of a 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe.
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Deputies found the partially-clothed body of Kenneth Ruffer, 26, laying on the floorboards between the Tahoe’s front and rear seats. Rice or grits had been strewn around the vehicle’s passenger compartment.
It later was determined Ruffer had been shot twice in the head at close range with a .380-caliber handgun.
Ruffer, a well-known drug dealer and gambler, always wore gold jewelry and carried large amounts of cash, charging papers say. But when his body was discovered, the charges say he wasn’t wearing any jewelry and his wallet was empty.
Detectives learned Ruffer had spent the previous evening into the early morning gambling at Asphy’s house, according to the charges. At the time, Asphy, who was having an affair with Wright, lived less than a quarter mile from where Ruffer’s body was found. Wright and his wife also lived within walking distance of that location, the charges say.
In Feb. 2003, an inmate at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac told detectives he regularly purchased cocaine from Asphy and claimed that she told him in 1995 that she had set Ruffer up to be robbed of $80,000. He gave them Wrights’ name and the name of the now-deceased second man. He said Wright wiped grits left in the Tahoe on the steering wheel in an attempt to destroy fingerprints, the charges say.
The gun used to kill Ruffer apparently was thrown into the Duwamish River, according to the charges.
Detectives also learned that the second man allegedly involved in Ruffer’s killing threw his bloody clothes and tennis shoes into a ravine behind his house, the charges say. In 2011, the ravine was searched and detectives found a plastic bag with blue cloth and the remnants of a pair of sneakers inside.
A fingerprint found on a door of Ruffer’s Tahoe was matched to the second man involved in his killing. Blood stains found on Ruffer’s pants were matched to Wright’s DNA profile, the charges say.
Wright and Asphy are each being held on a $1 million bond, according to prosecutors. They are scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 25.