Lights & Sirens

Go behind the yellow tape with The News Tribune

NOTICE: Lights & Sirens has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Lights & Sirens.
Visit the new section.

Charges dismissed against JBLM officer accused of making threats

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on June 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm with 15 Comments »
June 8, 2012 3:42 pm

A Pierce County judge today signed an order dismissing the felony charges against a Joint Base Lewis-McChord lieutenant colonel who’d been accused of hiring a hit man to kill his estranged wife and commanding officer.

Robert Underwood had maintained his innocence since his arrest in March, arguing he was the victim of a woman who made up stories about him when he rejected her romantic advances.

Prosecutors filed paperwork this afternoon saying they’d lost faith in the credibility of that woman, Serena Kiptoo, who was the main witness against Underwood.

Deputy prosecutor Neil Horibe asked Superior Court Judge Beverly Grant to sign an order dismissing the three felony harassment charges against Underwood this afternoon. Grant agreed but left open the door that prosecutors could re-file the charges if they gather more evidence.

Underwood’s attorney, Philip Thornton of Tacoma, said his client has “been through the wringer” since his arrest.

Underwood was jailed for several days before making bail and being released. Even then he was confined to post and escorted by two soldiers when he went to court or to visit his attorney.

Thornton said he hopes to convince the Army to lift the restrictions against his client now that the charges have been dismissed.

“He has no pending proceedings against him in the military,” Thornton said.

Prosecutors charged Underwood after Kiptoo told his wife the officer was making threats to have her and his commanding officer killed. Kiptoo also told investigators he’d threatened to kill her and that the two of them had been involved in a three-month relationship, court records state.

Thornton said his client was never romantically involved with Kiptoo, despite her desires, and that she got him into trouble to punish him for rejecting her.

Cellphone records back Underwood’s contentions, Thornton added.


Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. Weazle23 says:

    I hope charges have been filed against Serena Kiptoo for filing false charges and whatever else.

  2. guidocarmasi says:

    the Guy must feel like Dale Washam

  3. guidocarmasi, that made chuckle. But I would not go so far as to say that Washam did nothing or even that he did nothing wrong. What I have always maintained, and continue to maintain, is that he has been subjected to a witch hunt and that the people who should be defending him are misusing their offices to harm him. But sweet and pure is not the Dale I know and I doubt that he would disagree with me (although he probably wouldn’t appreciate me saying so).

    I just think it’s a far leap from allegedly being annoying to somebody handing out fistfuls of taxpayer money while blaming the person allegedly being annoying.

  4. gildo12 says:

    Washington78 Thank you for your comments. Someone here has finally framed Washam in the correct light.

  5. Even if found innocent how can that Lt. colonel continue to have an army career after that.

  6. GermanJournalist says:

    From the beginning, I was very doubtful about the whole story. What if it were only a vengeful woman claiming all this?! The accused should not be judged before proven guilty. But publications not just handed out the picture of the man, they also published his name. Which means that that story will always keep connected to this man. I wonder whether journalism shouldn’t tread much more carefully around alleged cases and spread the personal facts only when there’s proof at the court. Underwood must have gone through a living hell all these past months because of everybody “knowing”. You cannot publish his clearing big enough!

  7. slasmith says:

    He should also receive an apology from his command for not giving him the presumption of innocence.

  8. washington78 says:

    Yes miss kiptoo is carrying this bastards baby poor thing. This guy should be lucky that she didnt turn everything to the investigators .And about career who give a crap after all they always get away with it.

  9. ginahopk says:

    This guy should be a little more picky next time he looks for a girlfriend. There are a lot of nut cases out there. This is like ” Fatal Attraction”

  10. GermanJournalist says:

    Underwood obviously had been careful about his choices. As the article above reads – and some should read this more carefully! – he wasn’t involved with that woman, she does NOT bear HIS child, and he rejected her advances – which is why she came up with this heap of accusations.

  11. washington78 says:

    @German journalist am her friend and yes shes is bearing his child. He was involved in the relationship and so the outcome is here.Maybe more pics of him with her or the bedroom spycam might tell it all. Hes mentally unstable needs a huge help

  12. GermanJournalist says:

    Was just trying to break down the article, not to give an opinion on its contents. Article reads: No romantic involvement, no proof of felony. My OPINION is: more careful journalism as to publishing personal data,no judgement before proof from everyone against anybody, and more precise reading of/listening to news.

  13. thebestofthebest says:

    Washam before, or after Pierce County paid those three fired employees the $850,000? Or after the County paid the $692,000 in legal bills to defend against losing and having to pay the $850,000? Hey Guidocarmasi, does Dale have to pay the One Million, Five Hundred, Forty Two Thousand Dollars? ($1,524,000) No? Who pays for it then?
    How many police and firefighters did Pierce County have to “let-go” to pay this tab. If you paid a policeman $100,000, then it would be
    15 ploicemen. I know Pierce County is a “very safe” place, and can probably stand to lose 15 skilled police officers… What an idiot…

  14. Theoldsergeant says:

    We must be moving toward the French Judical System. Consider one guilty until proven not guilty seems to be the way we are headed. Hopefully the man will sue.

  15. @washington78

    I think it’s humorous that you claim your friend to be the victim I don’t care who is carrying whose child, if that is in fact the case but I find this woman’s claims unreliable under the circumstances. It doesn’t matter how intense or brief a relationship is, what happens in the bedroom is their business and no body else’s. She has made claims that threatened Roberts freedom, happiness, family and career with fabricated stories.

    You say that he is a “psycho who needs help” yet the true definition of a psycho or sociopath is one who acts with out conscience or regard of others’ well-being. I believe this definition more fits your friend that a man who has worked his entire life to defend his country sporting a spotless record. The charges were so unsubstantiated that the Army didn’t even take initiative to press charges, and if they found anything likely to come of it they would have been the first to do so. I think she should have to pay back all the tax payers money that was wasted and have to provide a formal apology to him.

    Luckily he is blessed with good friends and family that know the real him, and never for a minute believed the ridiculous charges made about the genuine and kind person he is. Say all you like, he is a free man who has done nothing wrong but chosen the wrong person to have a fling with. If that’s a crime then I guess we are all guilty, but lucky for us most people aren’t psycho enough to make such claims in vengeance.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0