Prosecutors dismissed a second-degree murder charge last week against a Lake Stevens man in an unusual case in which there’s a missing victim but no body.
Aaron J. Hillman, 20, was released from the Snohomish County Jail after spending more than six months behind bars awaiting trial.
Deputy prosecutor John Stansell asked for dismissal because of a lack of evidence.
“We weren’t going to win if we went to trial,” Stansell said. “If new evidence emerges, we can file it again.”
Hillman was charged with murder in the disappearance of Brandon Kempf, 19.
Kempf has been missing since August 2005, when his bright yellow sweatshirt, shoes and other clothing were found on Blue Bridge east of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway. Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies searched, but no body has been found.
Hillman reportedly told people he had killed Kempf, statements that led to his arrest early this year in northern California.
The charges were dismissed “because it was the right thing to do,” defense attorney Neal Friedman said. “(Prosecutors) didn’t have any evidence.”
Friedman said the only thing authorities had were Hillman’s statements to others about the killing and nothing to back it up. Friedman said those statements were made only “to impress people” after Kempf disappeared.
Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.