Man responsible for horrific 1980 SeaTac triple murder denied parole by Gov. Inslee

The man responsible for a horrific triple-murder robbery at the Barn Door Tavern in 1980 was deemed fit for parole, eligible to be released from prison in July. But Washington Governor Jay Inslee shut down the review board's determination on Friday, saying Timothy Pauley never took responsibility or apologized to the victims or their families.

According to court documents, in June 1980, Timothy Pauley and his associate Scott Carl Smith entered the Barn Door Tavern and announced it was a robbery. Both were armed, Pauley carried a revolver and Smith carried a knife. They made all five victims, three women and two men, lie down while they began their robbery. Smith then tied up the men with an electrical cord and brought them back to one of the coolers. The women were ordered to undress and two of them were tied together at the hands with an electrical cord, then tied around the neck, causing them to pass out. The third woman was strangled to death. Before leaving, Pauley shot the two men in the cooler, killing them. The two surviving women were able to escape and contact police. Authorities arrested and then prosecuted Pauley and Smith.

Timothy Pauley pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder. He was sentenced in Feb. 1981, and his maximum term is life. The Indeterminate Sentence Review Board (ISRB) maintains jurisdiction over Pauley for these convictions.

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During Timothy Pauley's lengthy incarceration, the ISRB determined that Pauley completed the rehabilitation criteria in order to be fit for parole, and was scheduled to be released from prison on July 2, 2022.

Governor Jay Inslee reviewed the board's order, and canceled their determination on Friday.

"I am concerned by what is missing in Mr. Pauley's ISRB record," Governor Inslee said in Friday's press release. "Mr. Pauley was given the important opportunity to testify and offer his thoughts on how his behavior has impacted the victims and families of the victims. He expressed feeling ashamed for his "horrible" actions causing unimaginable problems. But in doing so, Mr. Pauley distanced himself from his actions and the direct consequences of those actions."

In addition, Governor Inslee wrote that Pauley referred to the victims as "them" and "these people", never directly acknowledging or apologizing to them. 

According to the press release from the Office of Governor Inslee, the ISRB had found Pauley fit for parole for the following reasons: 

  • After performing a psychopathy checklist to assess the risk of violence, he was determined to be low risk.
  • He successfully completed Chemical Dependency treatment and has been sober from drugs and alcohol since 1995.
  • He displayed insight to offending behaviors and provided interventions for maintaining his sobriety in the community.
  • The likelihood of him engaging in criminal activity is low, based on the presence of his siblings, with whom he has maintained regular contact with while incarcerated.
  • He has not received any serious infractions in 27 years, indicating he will be able to manage his behavior on community supervision, according to the ISRB.
  • He has completed numerous therapy programs and seminars such as. Alternatives to Violence, Bridges to Life and Healing and Education for Accountability and Liberation (H.E.A.L.).
  • He has participated in re-entry programming such as the Men Facilitating Change program and Interaction Transition Group.
  • He is just short of earning a Bachelor's Degree after completing educational courses through University Behind Bars.
  • His age and medical condition are factors that hinder him of the ability to commit future violent crimes.

In order for Timothy Pauley to be considered for release, Inslee stated that he must demonstrate both a full acceptance of his responsibility and remorse for his actions.

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In 2016, Timothy Pauley requested to be released early, and the ISRB performed a thorough review. The family of the victims desperately fought to keep him in prison. According to a 2016 report from The Daily Herald, Sidney Oie, former owner of the Barn Door Tavern, had been writing letters to the state asking that the convicted murderers never be released from prison. Oie joined other victims and their families at an Indeterminate Sentence Review Board meeting on Dec. 14 in Olympia to oppose Pauley's release. She also attended a second meeting weeks later in Monroe.

According to The Seattle Times, in 2016 the ISRB not only denied Pauley's request for early release, but added more than two decades to his sentence.

As of May 20, 2022, Timothy Pauley will remain in the Department of Corrections while the ISRB manages any further proceedings.

Read Governor Inslee's order below: