After apparently shooting his wife with a 12 gauge shotgun, Thomas Jarboe called 911 to explain what happened.
“She has been abusing me, she is my caretaker, and is completely destroying me,” Jarboe said to the dispatcher, according to court documents first reported by KOMO News. “She hates all my kids, my kids all hate her.”
The 75-year-old professor emeritus at the University of Washington said he was acting in “self-defense” when he shot Kay Sew, who was 63.
Jarboe suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease and amnesia, and a neighbor told KOMO News those illnesses often led to fights between the couple. The neighbor said he overheard “yelling about medications [and] not taking medications.”
Meeghan Black, public information officer at Bellevue Police Department, told The Daily Beast that Jarboe also suffered from “hallucinations.”
“He refused to talk with detectives,” Black said. “We don’t know what led up to [the alleged murder]. We’re still trying to figure that out. If he’s not going to talk to us, we’re going to talk to family, neighbors, friends, anyone who knows him.”
Jarboe is being held in King County jail on a $2.5 million bail. He previously served as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and an adjunct physics professor, though a representative from UW told KOMO News he was not currently teaching any classes.
He was frequently interviewed in media articles, recently speaking about fusion energy research and a UW project to create a sustainable nuclear reactor.
Domestic violence rates have spiked in Bellevue, a city of just under 150,000, during the coronavirus pandemic. Felony domestic violence assaults have increased by 28 percent.
Black told The Daily Beast the Bellevue Police Department is “very concerned” by the trend. “It’s the Pacific Northwest, it’s dark, it’s dreary, it’s wet, and people are still under a stay-at-home mandate,” she said. “We want to tell [victims] that they don’t have to be silent. We want to raise awareness as we continue to see this violence.”
In 2019, Bellevue saw its first murder in over three years. “Bellevue doesn’t [normally] experience this kind of violence,” Black said. “We have super, super low crime rates for a city of this size. So obviously, something’s going on out there.”