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UPDATE: Bellevue man accused of killing aunt facing second-degree murder charge

An officer with the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab assisting with a murder investigation enters an apartment complex at the Twelve Central Square apartments on Northeast 12th Street in Bellevue on Monday, April 14. - Brandon Macz
An officer with the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab assisting with a murder investigation enters an apartment complex at the Twelve Central Square apartments on Northeast 12th Street in Bellevue on Monday, April 14.
— image credit: Brandon Macz

The King County Prosecutor's Office filed a second-degree murder with a deadly weapon charge against a 53-year-old Bellevue man Wednesday, three days after his aunt was found dead inside an apartment they shared in downtown.

Bellevue Police arrested Mark J. Irwin early Monday morning after being dispatched to a unit at the Twelve Central Square apartments the night before after another family member found his aunt, Barbara Irwin, dead and covered with a sheet. The family member went to her apartment Sunday night after failing to reach her by phone, using a ladder to access the unit from an unlocked sliding door on the deck.

A police report states Barbara Irwin, 72, had the back of her skull caved in. Detectives found a claw hammer in the laundry room, which had been recently cleaned, but tested positive for blood. It is believed to be the murder weapon.

Irwin was found with blood and scratches on his body sitting in his aunt's car about 100 yards from her residence, according to the police report. A man with Irwin in the car allegedly told officers the two men had smoked crack earlier in the day. Irwin told authorities he'd gone to Seattle to smoke crack, was robbed and later came home on a bus. He said he didn't have a key to his aunt's apartment, and slept in the lobby. A family member told police his wife had spoken to Mark Irwin earlier when he answered his aunt's cellphone, and she suspected he was back on drugs.

Investigators documented a messy apartment, inconsistent with family accounts of Barbara Irwin's tidiness. Financial documents and credit cards were found piled on the kitchen counter, couch and other areas of the apartment. Irwin was found next to her bed, which had sponges and cleaners on top. Blood-covered bedding was found stacked away from the door. Police reported this made it unlikely a stranger killed Barbara Irwin.

During an interview with detectives following his arrest, Irwin claimed not to know about his aunt's death, but stated he needed a lawyer if she had been hurt. Irwin's bail was set at $2 million in King County District Court on Tuesday. He is scheduled for arraignment 8:30 a.m. April 29.

 

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