Blaine teenager’s murderer convicted
by Brent Cole
murder case of Blaine resident, Ashley Parks, 15, has
finally come to a close with the guilty verdict of Olympia’s
Kaufman, 44, was found guilty of one count of second-degree murder, which brings a penalty of 12-20 years. Additionally, Kaufman faces time for two counts of third-degree child rape, (sentencing for all counts has yet to be determined). The guilty verdict came down in an Olympia courtroom on April 13 after two days of jury deliberation.
Parks reportedly met Kaufman in an Internet chat room where he arranged to pick her up near her home last July. The two then proceeded down to his apartment in Olympia where they were spotted together at the Huntington Apartments. Parks apparently went to Olympia after Kaufman had promised to buy her a plane ticket to go visit her half brother in Arizona.
Park’s remains were found by two hikers on August 28, just off the Chehalis Western Trail north of Lacey.
Parks lived in Blaine off and on for about 18 months, and was known to have been in Blaine as recently as July, 2003.
Kaufman was tracked down through an e-mail Parks had sent a friend from Kaufman’s apartment. Although he initially denied knowing Parks, the Thurston County Sheriff’s department continued their questioning of Kaufman. He soon confessed to having a connection with the girl. Part of the evidence against Kaufman included his bloody sweatshirt found near the body and witnesses who had seen them together.
Prior to his arrest, Kauffman was fired from North Thurston high school, where he taught part time as a drafting instructor. He was terminated for unprofessional and inappropriate communication with a female student who he had invited to a party in his home and told her to keep quiet about it.
to prosecutors, Kaufman is also linked to several other
crimes including burglarizing the home of a teenage girl
on the Internet.