EVERETT — Prosecutors believe modern witchcraft drove a Gold Bar man to kill his girlfriend, dismember her body and scatter her remains around Snohomish County.
Prosecutors outlined the gruesome details in the opening statements at the trial of Eric Christensen on Tuesday. Christensen has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sherry Harlan.
Christensen met Harlan through the Internet, and the two later moved in together.
Christensen told detectives the woman took a “blood oath” to break off a relationship with another man. But when Christensen found text messages from an ex-boyfriend, he admits he flew into a jealous rage.
“In ancient times, people who broke blood oaths were sometimes killed,” Christensen told investigators. He has denied any involvement in her death, however.
But prosecutors believe Christensen not only killed Harlan, but also plotted the murder. Investigators said Christensen went to great lengths in an attempt to cover up the crime, ripping out carpet, bleaching the crime scene and mutilating the body to further hide evidence.
Prosecutors allege that Christensen, 40, killed Harlan on Jan. 2 after learning that she continued to communicate with an older man she had befriended on a social networking website.
Christensen told the cops he had tried to make things work with Harlan, but she had broken a promise. He wouldn’t tolerate her communicating with another man, not after she took a “blood oath.”
“I’m not a Christian. I’m a Wiccan and that would be like asking me to become (a Christian). I’m 100 percent totally for Chevys. It would be like asking me to love Fords,” Christensen told the detectives.
Christensen described the oath that he and Harlan took at her apartment in mid-December. He laughed at detectives as they tried to understand the different elements of the ceremony.
Christensen said Harlan vowed to stop seeing and taking gifts from the man. He explained that he wanted to salvage the relationship and the oath meant Harlan did too, he said.
Christensen recounted the morning he found out that Harlan continued to communicate with the other man. He told detectives he discovered the text messages on Harlan’s phone while she was in the shower.
He said he was “biting-nails mad, but I know how to control my anger. I know if it goes a little too far. I know exactly what my potentials are without even doing it.”
He told police he and Harlan had sex and then he confronted her about the messages. They got into a shoving match. He called her names and then left.
“So what are your feelings toward her now?” detectives asked Christensen.
“I hope Karma gives her what she deserves,” Christensen said.
“What do you mean by that?” sheriff’s detective Ted Betts asked.
“Well, she broke an oath,” Christensen said.
A judge on Friday [May 15, 2010 — RNB] ruled that a jury will be allowed to hear the details of the ceremony and the rest of the interview that Christensen gave to detectives the day before he was arrested for murder.
Investigators found signs of violence in Harlan’s apartment. There were large blood stains. Patches of carpet and linoleum had been ripped up. Parts of her mattress had been cut away. The apartment smelled strongly of bleach.
Christensen said he and Harlan fought after he saw text messages from the other man, according to his statement. He accused Harlan of breaking her oath and being unfaithful. He told detectives that mean that “her blood might as well be sewage water, and in the ancient text ways, she’d become a warlock,” a traitor or enemy, according to court documents.
Christensen said after the argument he left Harlan’s apartment. She was alive and uninjured, Christensen said.
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