Federal law enforcement officials connected an Olympia man as the prime suspect in the 2018 attacks on the Yelm Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, which included acts of arson and a shooting attack.
The man, 49-year-old Mikey Diamond Starrett, was arrested on Sept. 8, 2021 for the Yelm attacks, in addition to six other arson occurrences that happened between 2018 and 2020 in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, Shelton and Puyallup, according to The Olympian.
Starrett, who remains detained at the SeaTac Federal Detention Facility, was indicted on Sept. 22, 2021, with District Judge David Estudillo setting a trial date of May 23, reported The Olympian.
U.S. District Court prosecutors in Tacoma accused Starrett of unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm on Sept. 8, per documents obtained by The Olympian, though charges in connection to the religious halls have yet to be filed.
The Olympian noted a March 19, 2018 arson attack on Olympia Kingdom Hall; a March 19, 2018 arson attack on Tumwater Kingdom Hall; a May 15, 2018 shooting attack on Yelm Kingdom Hall; a July 3, 2018 arson attack on Olympia Kingdom Hall; an Aug. 8, 2018 arson attack with a hoax device at Yelm Kingdom Hall; a Dec. 7, 2018 arson attack on Lacey Kingdom Hall; an Aug. 13, 2019 arson attack on Puyallup Assembly Hall; and a July 24, 2020 arson attack on Shelton Kingdom Hall.
When Starrett asked for his detention to be examined on Oct. 12, 2021, prosecutors responded with a letter of opposition to the request on Oct. 28, 2021, stating they had strong evidence linking him to the crime, The Olympian reported.
The evidence, The Olympian reported, includes Starrett’s alleged internet searches on the Jehovah’s Witness religion and his possession of a vehicle allegedly matching one caught on surveillance footage in connection with the crimes.
About $61,000 in rewards were offered through various federal and local agencies in 2018 and 2019 for information on the attacks.
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