Man gets 75 years for terrorizing exes in Bothell, Mukilteo

In 2021, Joseph Sims broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home in Bothell and assaulted her. He went on a crime spree from there.

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BOTHELL — A Seattle man has been sentenced to over 75 years in prison for terrorizing his ex-girlfriends and others from Mukilteo to Seattle in 2021.

Last month, Joseph Sims, 32, was found guilty by a jury in Snohomish County Superior Court on 10 counts: two counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, three counts of second-degree assault as well as one count each of first-degree rape, drive-by shooting and unlawful firearm possession.

Days after his girlfriend broke up with him, Sims committed a spree of violent crimes against his former partner, her roommate, her parents and others with whom he had past relationships.

The trial took over three weeks. Judge Karen Moore handed down the sentence at the prosecution’s recommendation last week.

The sentence on the rape charge is indeterminate, meaning Sims could face even more prison time after serving his initial sentence.

“It is not an exaggeration to say the defendant ‘terrorized’ a number of people in this case over the course of a week’s time,” deputy prosecutor Audrey Majkut wrote in court documents. “… He didn’t just instill fear, he risked human lives during the course of his campaign and — according to the evidence — he did so without reluctance or hesitation.”

Sims represented himself pro se at trial, according to court documents.

Around midnight June 10, 2021, the defendant’s ex-girlfriend was making dinner in her Bothell apartment when Sims knocked on the door, according to charging papers. He had reportedly been watching her for two hours.

The defendant demanded to know why she was “disrespecting him” by dating other people, court documents say.

She told him she would call the police if he didn’t leave, charges say. Sims pointed a gun to her stomach, put his hand over her mouth and forced her to the bedroom. Sims talked to her there for hours and gave her Adderall to keep her awake.

Sims raped the woman that night, the charges say. She later told investigators he still had the gun in his pants and she was “absolutely” in fear for her life. Still, Sims wanted proof the sex was consensual, and wanted to print out a sexual consent form at his sister’s house in Ballard.

Sims forced the woman into his car and drove them to Seattle to print the form.

He eventually took her back to her Bothell home, charges say. Sims stayed the night, as the woman let him believe they were still a couple. He left the next morning around the same time she went to work.

That night, the woman called Bothell police to report what happened, court documents say.

The woman’s roommate came home from a vacation June 15, according to the charges. Around 3:30 a.m., she awoke to the sound of Sims smashing a rock into a sliding glass door, according to charges.

“I turned around and there was a man, Joseph Sims, standing in my bedroom with a gun in my face,” the roommate later told investigators.

He repeatedly asked her where his former partner was. He ordered her to grab her purse and get in his car.

Sims drove and angrily asked who the “blonde girl or guy” from his ex-girlfriend’s work was, charges say. The roommate identified the coworker, and told Sims the coworker lived in Kenmore. He drove there, believing his ex-girlfriend was staying there.

Sims kept a gun pointed at the woman’s head while he drove, charging papers say. They eventually arrived at the coworker’s home, but drove past it, now believing she was at her parents’ in Mukilteo.

Sims arrived to the apartment complex where the woman’s parents lived and zip-tied the roommate’s hands. She stayed in the car. He got out.

“This is going to get loud,” he reportedly told her.

The defendant grabbed a .223-caliber rifle from the backseat and shot about 29 times into the home, charging papers say. The residents were awake and not injured. Sims reportedly told the roommate he had been casing the apartment for days.

Sims left and drove south on I-5. He arrived at a home in Shoreline that reportedly belonged to the parents of another ex-girlfriend and “fired at the house until the magazine was empty,” according to the charges.

He dropped off the roommate at a Shell gas station in Seattle, before going to a house in Seattle’s University District, belonging to a person associated with another ex-partner, court documents say. Around 6:35 a.m., he turned himself in to the University of Washington Police Department.

Sims has a lengthy criminal history in King County, mostly consisting of residential burglaries, according to court documents. A month before committing the crimes in June 2021, he’d just finished serving four years in prison for burglary.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434;; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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