Defendant runs but can't hide



Last Monday was more than just another day in court for a King County deputy prosecutor from Federal Way.

Jim Ferrell chased and caught a defendant in a domestic violence case who, moments after being ordered to jail, bolted from a courtroom in downtown Kent and ran down several streets and through a store.

“I just reacted,” said Ferrell, himself a crime victim while running for the Legislature in last fall’s election.

Ferrell, waiting in the same courtroom Monday at the Regional Justice Center for a hearing on an unrelated matter, said he was “listening to this guy’s case and I just got a feeling that he’d go.”

When a judge told William B. Rod, 35, that he was going to jail for allegedly violating a a no-contact order, Ferrell watched as Rod spoke briefly to a woman at the back of the courtroom and then ran out the door.

For about four blocks, Ferrell, 36, a former linebacker for the University of Washington football team, chased Rod. At one point, Ferrell said, he found Rod hiding behind a transformer and told him, “‘You need to come back to court and it’ll be okay.’ He balled up his fist like he was going to come at me and then took off again.”

Ferrell, “huffing and puffing” in his suit and wing tips, borrowed a cell phone from bystanders and kept a 9-1-1 police dispatcher abreast of the pursuit’s direction.

Thinking Rod entered a small shop on Meeker Street, “I asked two ladies if they’d seen a guy run in, and they said he was in the back,” Ferrell related.

Ferrell found Rod behind the store, yelled at him to get down, and he did, Kent Police said. Officers arrived seconds later to take Rod back to court, where the judge raised his bail to $20,000 and sent him to jail –– this time all the way.

Ferrell also returned to court to finish his original business.

He said the chase was aided by a Kent Police detective and friend, Kathy Holt, who was walking to a bank when she saw the commotion. She joined the pursuit and also called 9-1-1, authorities said.

Ferrell ran for state representative in the 30th District last fall. Late in the campaign, he received e-mailed death threats. Federal Way Police investigated, but the threats couldn’t be traced and no arrests were made.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565 and

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