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The Sociopath of Seattle

Updated on April 5, 2015
Edward Lee King
Edward Lee King | Source

A Youngster

Edward Lee King was born in 1950, the second child of four. He was never abused, but it abounded around him, due to his father. If dad wasn’t beating his mother, he was after his older brother. Ed learned a great deal of things through his father and uncles. As a matter of fact, young Edward was his father’s favorite, who made every excuse for him that he could. Therefore, Ed learned that if his older brother was punished, he must be at fault. It sure wasn’t fair, but neither was life. Ed got along by going along, general noninvolvement.

During his youth, he was an excellent athlete, usually picked for a teammate first. He made friends easily, was highly competitive and hid his emotions, just like his hard-working father. His father worked night and day, but they were still poor. During one of their visits to relatives in Ohio, an uncle taught the boys to shoplift with a heavy overcoat. They also learned how to stack a deck and make crooked bets.

A Young Man

Growing toward his teens, he had feelings of revulsion and shame about himself. He still wet the bed at twelve, and as an adolescent, he retreated into sexual fantasies. Before his thirteenth birthday, his mother came under the power of a fundamentalist minister. That summer, the church held a contest to increase membership, and Edward worked hard to sign up everyone that he could. He was the proud winner of a shiny new Schwinn bicycle. Of course, with church nearly every day in one form or another, there was no time for sports. His skills in lying escalated. Edward tried to revive his faith by attending a Billy Graham Crusade, but again, he felt nothing. He tried to straighten out and bought a picture of Jesus. His mother asked him where he stole it.

In November 1965, Edward's father left home after he found another woman, and family life started to backslide. The church and the Salvation Army provided food and a Christmas tree. For two months, the family lived on handouts and the money that the brothers brought home from paper routes and odd jobs. Then his wife went to where he was living to convince him to return. She smashed the front door, Walter stepped between his parents to keep them from fighting, and dad knocked him down. His mother hacked his hands with a tire iron. His father kicked his son in the groin, causing him to be hospitalized. Three months later, Ed's father returned home. The mother‘s response was “that the Lord always answers prayers.” Not even a month passed, and father left again. Ed blamed himself, due to the fact that his father was in tears one day and tried to tell him, but the words never came out.

At fifteen he got involved with a friend to hot-wire cars, they stole from the restaurant that they were employed at, then they took money from the register and claimed a robbery, after they learned that another store in the chain was robbed a few months prior. They didn’t get caught, so the friends were on the way to a life of many more robberies. Ed’s family started living better, as he couldn’t support them with his meager salary.

Then he began abusing the cat. That finally stopped when he met a girl, but she ended up marrying his literal partner in crime. He congratulated the happy couple. The fast food bandits continued to strike and Ed got his driver’s license. He served as driver. At the age of seventeen and a dozen robberies, an employee finally began firing upon the getaway car. When the friends discovered a bullet hole in the car, it was pushed off a cliff. Three days later, Edward was arrested, as the ownership was traced. Ed was sentenced to six months in a juvenile home, but served two. His mother forced him into church again.

Ed was reintroduced to a cousin who became pregnant by him. The families decided that she would have an abortion, and she was out of his life. He moved into an apartment with another juvenile. The apartment burned a short time later, as his roommate fell asleep while smoking. He was back home again. But now his mother was married.

Edward began drinking heavily, soon moving in with his father and his new wife. His new family was dirt poor, and his stepmother didn’t work. Finally he left there and moved back in with his mother and new husband. His fantasies became more and more violent, and he never forgave the women that left him for better things in life. At nineteen, he began his life of rape, encouraged by magazine articles that very few were reported.

He still dated while raping women, and even got involved in working as a realtor after he raped his first realtor. But that would come back to haunt him, for she was the wife of a police officer. He frequently changed cars to keep the police off his tail, and looked for women and youths that were runaways, prostitutes, and on the seedier side. They would be less likely to report the crimes, but some of them did.

Steven Gary Titus
Steven Gary Titus | Source

Enter Steven Gary Titus

Eventually, the wrong man was caught for one of the rapes, due to the corrupt work of the Port of Seattle Police, namely Ronald Parker. This ruined the life of Steven Gary Titus in more ways than one. He was just weeks short of being sentenced for the crime. What compounded his problems even more, was that he looked very similar to Ed King, the real perpetrator.


Work of Paul Henderson, News Reporter

Then came Paul Henderson, a news reporter for the Seattle Times. Through investigations of his own and the patience of his editors and the judge, he rallied for what was right. He discovered the lies, inconsistencies in the police investigation, as well as false evidence. Not only did he win the Pulitizer Prize for his work, he kept an innocent man from being put behind bars for ten years. But it was too late. Titus lost his job, became mentally ill, and eventually died of a heart attack due to the stress of the ordeal.

The Final Days of the Hunt

The King County Police in Washington state put many of the correct pieces of the puzzle together. The latest rape victim recognized the perpetrator, and the hunt was on. King was finally arrested at the home of his stepfather and mother. After 55 rapes, the days of horror seemed to be over.

On Sept. 18, 1981, the forty year sentence was plea bargained to a three year stay at Western State Hospital. He did everything right and was a model patient for the overworked and understaffed facility. Fortunately, when his treatment time was up, two psychologists were called in by the court and decided that King was not fit to re-enter society. He was just too good and too calm. He would spend the rest of his original sentence in Walla Walla until he was an old man.


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    • profile image

      A relative 

      14 months ago

      Hi, I don't really have the time to continue yet, but after speaking to my mom today I have to make a few corrections, as I had a few things wrong:

      The bar that my uncle owned was actually a restaurant.

      My uncle didn't collect my dad from a family party, it was actually at my grandmother's house, that my mom and dad were at, to "show off" my dad's new motorcycle.

      My dad hurt his ankle while trying to escape, mom couldn't recall if they said it was broken

      My uncle didn't speak for 2 weeks after my dad died, not a whole month.

      When I have time I'll try to write more.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      15 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I will be awaiting the next part. thank you so much for taking the time to write, as it could fill in a few blanks.

    • profile image

      A relative 

      16 months ago

      Hi, I read this while searching for more information on Edward, known in the family as Eddie. This appears to be a summarization of a book by Jack Olsen, called Predator. Mr Olsen apparently wrote several such books about criminals. He would do jailhouse interviews, promising to keep real names out if they would tell their stories.

      Eddies dad was one of my dad's 5 brothers. There were no girls. Eddies dad died of cancer about twenty years ago. I didn't know him, other than stories, and only remember talking with him once, at my Grandmother's (his mother) funeral wake. He was kind and polite at the time. Not seeming like what I read about him, but I don't know what changes may have occurred over the years, or if what I was seeing was just what he wanted me to see. Only one out six brothers (my uncle) remains. He is a good man. He is not the one in the story.

      I'm not totally sure why I'm writing except to explore how I feel about my family and about another uncle, the one that is in the story, who I grew to love until his death recently.

      And to give a little of information on the background of some of my family's story, what little I know of it.

      As you can imagine, these things are difficult to discuss. I will not use actual names, because there are still family alive and aware of what happened, and I don't want to hurt anyone. I will call my uncle, that was described in the story as the one who taught Eddie to shoplift, by the name of Bill. There are no men named Bill in the family as far as I know, so that works.

      About my dad, who is briefly in the book, but barely described:

      I was 4 when my dad was shot, as a result of a bad situation relating to the dissolution of ownership by 2 partners of a bar, over a juke box. Uncle Bill was one of the partners.

      They were arguing over who should get the jukebox, and the story that I have heard, is that my uncle often counted on my dad as "backup" when he got himself into trouble. So uncle Bill came to a party my family was having and asked my dad to come help him settle the dispute. My mom and other family members asked my dad not to go, as they knew there would be trouble. He went anyways. At some point, when it was clear the dispute wasn't going anywhere, my uncle "sucker punched" the partner. Now, both my uncle and the partner were not exactly known as upstanding citizens, and I don't understand why my uncle didn't take that into account, but the partner grabbed a gun that was behind the bar. My uncle ran, and my dad tried to also, but while trying to escape, my dad somehow broke his ankle. The partner whose name is Bob Berlyle(not sure of the spelling), put the gun to the back of my dad's head and is claimed to have said something to the effect of"If I can't have the King I want, I'll take this one", and shot my dad, point blank. Bob was not convicted, even with eyewitness accounts, because he was, by many accounts, a police informant. I don't know if he's still alive, but he was a cruel man. My mom told me that he once taunted her in a convenience store to another man he was with, saying to the man " Remember that guy King that I shot? That's his wife" He made a finger gun and pretended to shoot her.

      Part of the reason I tell this is because it had a bearing on my uncle. He essentially got my dad killed, and he was changed to some extent. My mom said he didn't speak at all for a month, and when he did he wouldn't talk about what happened. He would never discuss anything about it, other than he loved my dad, and was sorry it happened. I don't know if this occurred before or after he was supposed to have taught Eddie to shoplift among other things. I know that he spent the rest of his life trying to keep in contact with me and my sister, but she died 10 years ago, so it was just me and him.

      He had 3 children, all unfortunately dead now, do to drug overdoses, all 3 within the span of one year, and all of them in their 50's. My mom said he was a poor father, he always instead called himself a disciplinarian. My uncle who is still alive, doesn't recall him the way my mom does. From what my mom tells me, he would be considered abusive by today's standards. Either way, he treated them poorly, and I don't think they ever overcame it. When I got older and was told how he treated his kids, I always felt guilty, because he treated me well, as an uncle who loved his nephew. Before they died, I remember his regret that his children were all "on the dope", but he looked at it only as a failure of theirs, "That's what the dope does to you, stay away from it" He didn't see himself as part of their inner demons that they seemed to be running from. I will say that he was part of their bad start in life. I believe at a certain point you have to take responsibility and become part of "normal" society. They mostly never seemed to, except for maybe the oldest sister, but she somehow ended her path similarly.

      There were other things they faced that may have also been part of Eddie's path, but I don't know. You see, my grandmother who was also Eddie's, was divorced and remarried. Her new husband, "grandpa Clark", at some point, molested several of his step granddaughters, possibly all, but I don't know. Even my sister may have been one of them, but she had passed away by the time I knew this information, so I couldn't ask her. When he was found out, he shot himself. I grew up not knowing why he shot himself. I only found out a few years ago, and I'm in my 50's now. My sister struggled with mental illness later in life, mostly due to a horrible spouse in a bad marriage, but she would often say part of her struggles had to do with things she "regretted in her childhood". I don't know if anything happened to her, but I wonder now. I also wonder if his molestation extended to the grandsons, of which I am of course one, Eddie also. I do not have any recollections of anything happening to me, but I was young, so only God knows at this point. So the point of all this is, that Eddie may have faced molestation as part of who he became, but it's only a speculative possibility. I'm certainly not writing to give any excuse for the pain he caused. If I knew him as a child I don't remember. I did know his sister as a child, but don't have those memories, even though she did, but she was older than me. She and I were reacquainted in later years at my uncle Bill's wedding, to his third and last wife. We became friends as adults and love each other to this day. She doesn't really speak about her brother, but I believe she loves him, not really sure though. I'm sure it's embarrassing and painful for her.

      I will summarize what I know about Eddie and my family, it isn't a lot, for a few reasons, the biggest being that after my dad was killed, my contact with the rest of my family was really limited, I'm not totally sure why. I'm guessing partially that my mom had had enough. When my dad died, only one of my uncle's stepped up to help my mom, who basically had everything my dad owned stolen by his business partner, who owned 3 car lots with him. He gave her nothing, and even came and took our family car and my dad's motorcycle, claiming the vehicles "belonged to the lot". So we were left with nothing. My uncle, the one who is still living, was the one who stepped up, and consigned on a loan for a car. My mom remarried about a year later and I was raised by a wonderful man, and have had an otherwise "normal" and uneventful life.

      What I know if Eddie:

      Everyone in the family I've talked with has told me that he was a very sweet little boy. My uncle Bill apparently wanted to adopt him, because he didn't feel like he was treated right, which is weird, because my parents wanted to adopt uncle Bill's daughter for the same reason, and my living uncle wanted to adopt uncle Bill's son for the same reason too.

      My uncle Bill also blamed "the dope" for most of Eddie's direction in life. I don't know what role drugs played in his life and crimes.

      I have to continue in another post, as somehow I used up all the allotted space

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      20 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I really don't have anything current, but you should make your wishes known to those that hold him, T. Armstrong. No, he should not be out in public, I agree.

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      I am the individual whom identified themself as "Beenaround".

      That being said... would someone, anyone who has current information, please update this website.

      Edward Lee King is a ... and I really do hesitant here to try to find the right descriptive adjective.

      Clearly, not only from a personal perspective, but from all the accounts related, this human being does not deserve the "right" to be amongst any other civilized, rational, sane human being.

      Should he have been destroyed (i.e., executed) long ago? NO.

      NO, because that would have been way too merciful to him.

      His rotted core should ONLY be allowed to languish in a 4'x7' prison cell for as long as he continues to breathe.

    • profile image

      Daughter of victim 

      23 months ago

      They should never release this man . He may have completed his sentence but my mother's is life long . I have seen her have so much fear in what most people would not bat an eye at and are part of every day activities . He should not get to live free while his victims are in a eternal prison he put them in . With 50 plus victims most of witch he was never convicted for he is right where he belongs . He had court yesterday and we will find out within the next 30 days if this monster will be free.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      23 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I agree with you, victim. Do contact the prison and give your feelings on this matter to keep him behind bars. I wish you peace.

    • profile image


      23 months ago

      he has a parole hearing may 2 and 3 2017 so hard to believe they would even consider . my life has been forever changed becouse off this creature so scared

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I had heard that while he was in treatment, he confessed to additional crimes, which added to his sentence. By the time he gets out, he'll be too old to cause any harm or will pass away before then.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Been awhile, but I was just wondering if there has been any update as to the status of Edward Lee King? I hope/trust Wa DOC didn't do any so stupid as to 1) reduce this scum-buckets sentence, or 2) even worse, realease him..

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      With all the petition sites around now, if that was even a mere thought, it would be quelled at once. Thanks for looking this over, Jackie.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow; I hope they never let him back out on the streets! Makes no sense they would. ^+

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thank you, Richard. A person doesn't always turn into a sociopath due to the parents, but it can raise many other issues, like PTSD does for soldiers on the front line. Glad that you enjoyed this read. Luckily, the man was caught, taken into custody, and will never return to society to repeat these events.

    • Richard1988 profile image


      4 years ago from Hampshire - England

      What an incredibly sad, traumatic upbringing - with two train-wrecks for parents you can see how he was twisted into the violent sociopath described here. I am glad he will never be released, but I also feel sorry that his family failed him so badly. Well written aviannovice!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Beenaround, I just found your comment, which for reasons unknown, was filed under spam. King has injured many people, I agree, and you have paid your debt to society. Thanks for what you have told me, and I am sure that's why King's name was never mentioned in the book, as it was part of the "deal". Glad to hear that he'll never be released, as that would certainly be a huge mistake.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Peg. It isn't just one thing, according to what I have learned. It is psychological, socioeconomic, and a few other things. Not only that, these people have no empathy for others, only what they want matters, which makes them psychopaths. They cross the line because they have no empathy. Can it be made by others. Yes. Can it be inherited genetically? It appears to be that way, sometimes skipping a generation or two. There is still a good deal that is not known, but it certainly bears watching...

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      It's so hard to imagine what goes wrong to make a person commit these types of violent crimes. Maybe one day it will be discovered what actually goes on in the DNA or the brain of these individuals that allow cruelty and perversion to enter their thoughts and further, to act on those impulses. You've presented an interesting study of this guy, Deb.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I was an Ed King victim also, but in a different sense. I met him in the King County jail in fall of '82. Admittedly, I was facing some very serious charges (which while it doesn't matter anymore one way or the other, I was not guilty of---yeah, I know "we've all heard that before...") but the prosecutor's case was quite thin and shaky. That is, until Mr. King decided the snitch (i.e., turn state's evidence).

      King was in the jail awaiting one of his, what has become many, hearings (fortunately ALL of which he has lost), and decided he would try to improve his standing with the prosecutor's office (Norm Maeling at the time) by giving them all kind of stories as to my supposed confessing to him the all the details of my "crimes" while playing chess late at night.

      Yes, we did chess quite and usually at night, but that's the ONLY part of his stories that had any truth. But he was giving the prosecutor exactly what the prosecutor needed in order to convict me.

      When asked on the witness stand why he was testifying against me, he stated, with big ol' alligator tears in his eyes, "well, ma'am, I've hurt too many people in my life and I just don't want to see anyone else get hurt." Sitting at the defense table, even in the predicament I was in, I still had to choke back a laugh.

      The prosecutor never told my defense attorney exactly how many rapes, assaults, etc., Mr. King had committed ("convicted of" would be an improper term as he NEVER has been convicted of any--he was allowed to plead guilty) simply because at the time even they DID NOT KNOW. We were told the number was 5.

      Years later, I learned that the prosecutor actually knew about almost twice that number, and years even later, the truth now ("truth" as King would allow us all to know) is his horrors number past 50.

      I spent 15 years of my life locked up because of Edward Lee King, but I too survived. I've put my life back together (as much as possible) and have become once again a productive member of society.

      King on the other hand is currently (as of back in 2011 sometime) STILL incarcerated at the Airway Heights Correction center there in Washington State. As I understand the situation, he will NEVER be released.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Exactly, KoffeeKlatch Gals. Many people have had horrid lives, but some just short-circuit. Some serial killers were actually released to fight in Viet Nam, as the government thought that their mentality was suited for it, but they also killed innocents. They just don't get the difference. Naturally, they were all rounded back up again and sent back to prison.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Very interesting. How sad his family life was so bad. I certainly am glad they decided not to let him out in public after three years. think of how many women they saved with that decision.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for reading, Eddy. It is always good to see you, and thanks for your continued support.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      victim, let's hope that never happens! I never realized that he had been released from the hospital facility. Thanks for the information.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      So sad and so very well told.

      Here's to so many more for us both to share on here.

      Have a wonderful day Deb and lots of love.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Edward Lee King now at Monroe Correctional Complex, minimum security, earliest possible earned-parole date 9/9/2015, according to the Monroe facility.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Absolutely, Lela. These are things that can affect a rich as well as a poor family. It is negative stimulus(cruelty and fighting) that can cause a child to fear and block it out. Then it becomes interesting, and finally a part of their lives. Not everyone is affected in this manner, fortunately. We just need to figure out WHAT exactly triggers the mindset and behavior.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, kasmir. Glad that you are enjoying the series.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Alicia, everyone has issues when crimes affect them. It shows what the human psyche can crumble under, day after day and year after year.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Beckie! Take a look at what I wrote to Carol and see if you agree.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Martin. Glad that it held your attention.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Unfortunately, Carol, if someone IS a sociopath, this is what they will do. When these things are imprinted on the brain, it seems to create a chemical reaction, and sadistic things excite them. It's like the chemical reaction with depression, which of course, can be treated. I haven't done any research yet on sociopathy to see if it can be treated in the same way. The best that I can determine that, if a child is reached early enough and the stimulant removed, it could well be treatable, but don't quote me on that.

    • CreatePerfection profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Hi aviannovice,

      I often wonder why people are so casual in their decision to have children. It is a serious mistake to have children without the means to support them, firstly, and without the intention of raising them in a manner which will make them useful adults, secondly. Having children is not a right, it is a priviledge and those who do not take on this responsibility with caution are looking for trouble.


    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      This was a very interesting article and account of this guy's crime spree. Well done !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very sad story, Deb, but it makes an interesting hub. The crimes were horrible, and so many people were injured in one way or another by the events that you describe. Thanks for sharing the information - I hadn't heard of this case before I read your hub.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Never heard of him but 55 rapes!!! My God! Blessings to those two psychologists who had the trust in their instincts to see through the calm.

      The criminal mind has always fascinated me. I always want to figure out what the hell makes them tick. What makes them think they will get a way with it? Most importantly, what kind of a mind would enjoy rape, murder, torturing animals.

      I do believe I should have gone into the field of forensics. My older sister and I enjoy trying to solve "unsolved" crimes.

      I hope you don't take this the wrong way but I am THOROUGHLY enjoying this series.

      At the moment I am immersed in this Jodi Arias case.

      I look forward to the next.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this.This was really something.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Very well every word...Interesting how kids turn bad...May have had a chance with a decent life. Some survive and others don't;

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The authorities and the court really couldn't afford to screw up again after they arrested an innocent man. Thanks for visiting, Billy, my loyal friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's interesting that I barely remember this guy; I live fifty miles from Seattle but have a bare recollection of these crimes. I'm sure glad they didn't release him after three years.

      Thanks for an interesting true life story.


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