Jonathan M. Kirkpatrick has now been incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center for 26 years after receiving a 60-year sentence for the 1993 murder of Winlock resident Joyce Robertson.
He was convicted in 1995 after the case initially went unsolved for months. Now, he is seeking to be released early.
Joyce Robertson, along with her husband Larry Robertson, owned and operated a convenience store in Winlock. On an early February morning in 1993, Kirkpatrick, who was 19 at the time and high on methamphetamine, entered the store to try to buy beer.
Joyce Robertson refused to sell it to him because it was too early according to state law. Kirkpatrick became enraged, pulled out a 9 mm pistol and shot Joyce in the head.
“She was just a caring, friendly, fun person who never worried about herself, but about others. There’s just not enough to say,” Larry Robertson said in previous reporting by The Chronicle.
Joyce Robertson’s sister, Janice Smith, told The Chronicle she is vehemently opposed to Kirkpatrick being released.
“He got (sentenced) 60 years and he needs to spend 60 years,” Smith said.
Smith added that despite Kirkpatrick having spent 26 years locked up already, he was still using methamphetamines while in prison, according to his own admission in a clemency request letter.
The letter, which was obtained by The Chronicle, details other events in Kirkpatrick’s early life prior to the murder, which, according to Kirkpatrick, included being abandoned by his parents, being abused by his father and subsequent stepfathers, being raped at the age of 13 and contracting HIV, being homeless and living in abusive foster care homes.
“Jon understands that his transformation and traumatic childhood do not relieve him of his responsibility for the murder of Joyce Robertson. He is still haunted by his crime, and desperately seeks the forgiveness of Mrs. Robertson’s family and friends,” an excerpt from the clemency request reads.
While in prison, he claims to have also survived an attack by members of the Aryan Family gang when he was stabbed multiple times in the torso and neck. After getting clean, Kirkpatrick and his attorney say he became heavily involved in a variety of outreach programs, including Narcotics Anonymous, the Bridges to Life class and the prison’s quilting program.
Kirkpatrick claims to have completed a variety of classes from various community colleges while incarcerated. If released, he said he plans to live in Olympia with his brother, Daniel Kirkpatrick.
Aside from his brother, he received a total of 28 letters of support from family members, former inmates and correctional facility employees vouching for the reformed character that his attorney, Jordan Clark, referenced in the clemency request.
Seattle Clemency Project Reentry Director Anthony Powers wrote, “I have known Jonathan for a couple of decades now and have witnessed the transformation and maintenance of that transformation over time.”
Attempts to contact Clark were not successful.
Currently, no date has been set for a clemency hearing.