Murder charge filed in 2006 Tacoma cold case

TACOMA -- A first-degree murder charge was filed Wednesday against a 29-year-old man in a 2006 cold case in Tacoma.

The accused is Brandon Lee Farmer, who Pierce County prosecutors said is in custody in West Virginia on unrelated charges.

Prosecutors say Farmer shot dead Velma Tirado, 45, on Aug. 27, 2006.

According to prosecutors, Farmer and his friend, Dusty Titus, picked up Tirado, who was working as a prostitute in downtown Tacoma, and drove to a nearby alley. Prosecutors say that after Farmer had Tirado perform a sex act on him, he pulled out a revolver and shot her in the head.

No suspects were identified at the time and the case was referred to the Cold Case Unit.

Last month, Tacoma police detective Gene Miller received a call from California investigators who said Titus had told them he was the driver of the pickup truck involved in Tirado's slaying. Titus, in an interview with Miller and the FBI, identified Farmer as the shooter, prosecutors said.

"Farmer then admitted to Miller that he was present during the murder," the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.