Graham man pleads not guilty to killing Nicole White; bail set at $2 million

TACOMA -- Jonathan Harris, 29, of Graham, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder in the death of Orting mom Nicole White, whose body was found last Saturday after a two-week search.

Family and friends of the 28-year-old mother of two was also in court, seeing for the first time the man accused of killing her.

“She was a wonderful sister, friend, cousin, niece,” said family friend Ann Ancira. “She just absolutely brightened everybody’s life.”

The victim’s family and friends packed the courtroom holding signs that demanded justice for Nicole.

“I saw someone that has committed an awful crime, I didn’t see remorse,” said Ancira. “He’s a monster.”

Pierce County sheriff's detectives said Harris met White at a Spanaway bar for a date on June 6 and then took her to his home.

Investigators believe Harris murdered her there and then wrapped her in a tarp and dumped her in a ravine near Kapowsin.

Her body was discovered last Saturday. Investigators said her body was severely decomposed but that she had multiple fractures to her ribs and head.

Harris allegedly told detectives that White ditched him at a local convenience store the night of June 6 and he didn’t know what happened to her. But detective and Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the clues pointed to him.

“He saves the sweatshirt that has her blood on it, he leaves a trail of his travels on his cell phone and he even returns to the scene where he dumped the body,” said Lindquist.

Nicole's family and friends said they want a more serious charge against Harris than just second-degree murder.

“I think an eye for an eye, the murder, his punishment needs to fit the crime,” said Ancira.

But investigators say they’d need more evidence to up the charge.

“The medical examiner could not determine the cause of death,” Lindquist disclosed Wednesday. “We know it was a homicide, we believe the defendant is responsible but we can’t prove premeditation or planning.”

Harris has a criminal history ranging from DUI to assault.

His murder trial is scheduled for late August.