Department of Corrections
Terry Lee Alexander's "obituary burglar" scheme cost him 14 years of his life in jail.
UPDATE: Alexander still has a job. For


Should Terry Lee Alexander, the "Obituary Burglar," Be Given a Second Chance?

Department of Corrections
Terry Lee Alexander's "obituary burglar" scheme cost him 14 years of his life in jail.
UPDATE: Alexander still has a job. For now. Details after the jump.

Terry Lee Alexander sounds like the last person in the world you'd want working around old people. The 22-time felon has spent 14 years of his life inside a jail cell, mostly because his chosen profession was taking other people's stuff.

Alexander was nicknamed the "obituary burglar" after police determined he'd used newspaper obituaries to locate his victims. The ruse was infinitely clever and evil: Alexander targeted homes left unoccupied because the tenants were attending a funeral, thereby doubling-down on his sin by robbing folks, mostly older, who'd just lost a loved one.

KIRO 7 smelled blood in the water when they found out that since his release from prison Alexander had been hired at a Kent senior acitivities center. Alexander works as the weekend attendant, letting in and locking up behind the people who rent out the space for birthday parties, wedding receptions, et cetera.

Reported KIRO of the hire, in the kind of breathless tone that's a hallmark of scary TV news programs everywhere: "It's one that has victims, police and taxpayers alike shaking their heads in disbelief."

One of Alexander's former victims and the prosecutor who helped put him away are understandably wary of the arrangement. As they should be. But Alexander's story is a little more complicated than a convicted felon being set loose upon the same vulnerable people he once specialized in burglaring.

Daily Weekly called Alexander's boss, Lea Bishop. She'd talked to KIRO but says they didn't get the full story.

"It's so upsetting to us because (Terry) has proven himself to be an excellent employee," says Bishop. "He's on time, does what needs to be done and then something like this slams him to the ground. It's just so frustrating."

KIRO says that Alexander told Bishop about his criminal past. That's true. But they also say it was because of his felony convictions that the county decided to only let him work nights and weekends. Bishop says that's not correct. The job of building attendant was always nights and weekends, she says. And Alexander only found it because he was recommended by a teacher helping him become an auto mechanic.

"It's a difficult job to fill," she says. "It pays $9.50 an hour. These are very unglamorous hours because people want their weekends. We had an opening. A person we knew at Green River Community College had a student who said was a good prospect but just needed a break. Terry never sought us out."

As a result of KIRO's report, Kent is now reviewing its background check system. Meanwhile, Bishop, her supervisor and the park director will be meeting this afternoon with Alexander to determine his fate.

Bishop says she's going to lobby hard to let Alexander keep his job. But she's not sure if her best efforts will be enough.

"The worst worry you have is that he will become a re-offender because no one gives him a chance to show he can be an upstanding citizen," says Bishop. "Now he has the stigma of the TV show where his face is all over the place. Finding someone else to trust him is going to be even more difficult."

Bishop says she'll let us know how things turn out after the meeting. We'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: Bishop described the meeting as "very positive."

But a final decision on Alexander's job won't be made until next week. After Kent's parks director has met with the city attorney. We'll keep you posted.

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