Kent man charged after stabbing girlfriend 31 times

King County prosecutors charged a 42-year-old Kent man Monday with first-degree murder in connection with the Oct. 16 stabbing death on Interstate 5 of his 42-year-old Kent girlfriend.

King County prosecutors charged a 42-year-old Kent man Monday with first-degree murder in connection with the Oct. 16 stabbing death on Interstate 5 of his 42-year-old Kent girlfriend.

Christel David Murphy is accused of stabbing Jane Kariuki 31 times with a 4-inch dinner knife as the couple rode in a sport-utility vehicle driven by a relative of Kariuki at about 3:55 p.m. Oct. 16 southbound on I-5 in North Seattle, according to charging papers. Kariuki died later that evening from a stab wound to the chest at Harborview Medical Center.

Murphy is being held at the King County jail in Seattle in lieu of $4 million bail. He will be arraigned Nov. 3 at King County Superior Court in Seattle.

According to charging papers, Murphy has a long history of domestic violence, including fourth-degree assault in 2007 and third-degree assault in 2006 against Kariuki at the Kent home the shared. Murphy also had a pending charge against him in Kent Municipal Court for violation of a no-contact order as well as a valid no-contact order against him in place at the time he reportedly stabbed Kariuki.

Murphy sat in the back seat of the SUV and stabbed Kariuki as she sat in the front passenger seat, according to charging papers. The driver pulled over the side of the freeway during the attack and called 911. Murphy reportedly walked out of the car, threw the knife on the ground, leaned against a guardrail and lit a cigarette.

Washington State Patrol troopers arrested Murphy on I-5 for investigation of murder. Police found the dinner knife on the pavement.

The couple had dated for about five years, the relative told police. He said the couple had argued earlier in the day after Kariuki had told Murphy to pack up his stuff and move out.

Kariuki asked her relative to drive herself, Murphy and another friend from Kent to Northgate Mall. They dropped the friend off at Northgate and headed back to Kent when the attack occurred.

Murphy’s criminal history includes a voluntary manslaughter conviction in 1985 in North Carolina.

If convicted as charged, Murphy faces a sentence of 25 to 33 years in prison.

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