Man Charged In Slayings Of 3 `Street Women'

A Seattle man was charged yesterday with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three women whose bodies were found in a wooded area beneath Seattle's freeways.

DeWayne Lee Harris, 35, is being held at the King County Jail on $5 million bail.

Harris, who has an extensive criminal record, was already jailed on an unrelated robbery charge when he called a detective late last month and claimed to have information about the death of Denise Marie Harris, 42, court papers said. The other victims were Antoinette Jones, 33, and Olivia Smith, 25.

If convicted on all three counts, Harris could receive at least 60 years in prison. There may also have been an accomplice, according to court documents.

Harris is to be arraigned June 2.

All three victims were drug users who lived a "street lifestyle," police said. Their bodies were found last fall and winter in "the Jungle" - a stretch of undeveloped land frequented by homeless people under the Interstate 5 and Interstate 90 freeways.

Harris' body was discovered by a homeless man Sept. 12. Her hands had been bound with shoelaces, her shoes were missing their laces and a belt was wrapped around her neck. The killer had also stuffed a brassiere in her mouth.

The two allegedly met on First Avenue in downtown Seattle.

Jones was found dead Feb. 1 behind a business near Poplar Place South and South Bush Street, a half-mile east of where the first victim was found.

Forensic tests showed she had been strangled and tied up three months earlier, about the time Harris was killed. Her wrists and ankles were bound with shoelaces, and a shoelace was found around her neck.

According to court documents, Harris strangled Jones with a leather belt shortly after accusing her of stealing drugs from him.

Smith was found dead at the bottom of an outdoor stairwell near Airport Way South and Royal Brougham Way, less than a half-mile from where Harris' body was found. Smith had been stabbed repeatedly, and her throat has been slashed.

According to court documents, Harris killed Smith after a violent confrontation over the terms of a drugs-for-sex deal.

Seattle Times staff reporter Ronald K. Fitten and The Associated Press contributed to this report.