Stanwood ex-teacher loses license due to assault with gun

Paul Erickson, 38, taught at Stanwood Middle School at the time he held his wife hostage in January.

Paul Erickson (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Paul Erickson (Washington State Department of Corrections)

STANWOOD — A Stanwood Middle School teacher’s license to work as an educator has been permanently revoked because he was found guilty of a domestic violence assault with a gun.

Paul Erickson, 38, held his ex-wife at gunpoint two days after their divorce became official in January. They met at Heritage Park to trade off custody of their small child. He told his ex-wife to get in his truck because it was cold, and she did, with the boy beside her. Erickson pointed a pistol at her left knee and threatened to shoot, according to the charges.

“There are three bullets in the chamber,” he told her. “One is for your knee cap so you can feel the pain that I’m feeling, one is for your head and one is for mine.”

He continued to threaten her, then told her he’d been plotting to kill her for six months and that he paid a group of people $15,000 to kill her. He ordered her to follow him to his home on Camano Island, where he forced her to stand in front of a security camera and repeat phrases about how she was horrible and he was wonderful. Afterward he let her go but told her he would kill her and her first husband if she said anything negative about him or his family.

The woman called police around 8 p.m. on Jan. 9.

Erickson told police he did threaten to kill himself, but not his ex-wife. He was arrested for investigation of domestic violence assault in the second degree and domestic violence felony harassment.

He pleaded guilty as charged in late March.

As part of the plea, prosecutors agreed to not charge Erickson with violating a no-contact order for calls from jail, where he reportedly tried to get messages passed on to his ex-wife through relatives in late January; to not charge him with aggravated domestic violence, which was possible because the crimes were committed in the presence of a small child; and to not pursue firearm enhancements on both counts, which would have added years to Erickson’s sentence.

Superior Court Judge Marybeth Dingledy ordered him to serve 12 months in prison, followed by 18 months on probation. Prison records showed, with good conduct behind bars, he was out of the penitentiary by early September. He was required to participate in a state-certified domestic violence program, as well as to undergo a mental health evaluation and to get treatment as recommended by the findings.

Erickson taught science and social studies at Stanwood Middle School. He resigned from his position when the charges came to light.

Before taking the job in Stanwood, he worked at elementary schools near Marysville and Monroe. He began his teaching career in the state in 2009.

The state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction revoked his license to teach on Sept. 15, stating he had “demonstrated a lack of good moral character and personal fitness” to be an educator.

Under state law, second-degree assault is a crime that requires mandatory revocation of a teaching license.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; Twitter: @snocaleb.

Need help?

You can talk with an advocate any time to sort out how to help someone in an abusive relationship. You can call, chat or text the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Or call Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County’s 24-hour hotline at 425-25-ABUSE (425-252-2873).

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