We’re pleased to announce that “The Green River Killer’s Lawyer,” a profile of Mark Prothero, a criminal defense attorney with Hanis Irvine Prothero in Kent, Wash., which appeared in the July 2010 issue of Washington Super Lawyers magazine, was honored last weekend in the Excellence in Journalism Contest sponsored by the Northwest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. It took second place in the category of Magazine Personalities.
Prothero co-led an eight-lawyer team that negotiated a plea deal for Gary Ridgway, known as Seattle’s Green River Killer, sparing his life in the slayings of nearly 50 women over a 20-year span. Prothero spent hours, days, weeks with Ridgway, gathering details about the murders and locations of the bodies. As the only member of the defense team allowed to know such facts-in case a plea deal couldn’t be reached-Prothero harbored his thoughts alone. “It weighed on me,” he said in the article. “I had to consciously put that out of mind or I couldn’t sleep.”
In April 2003, King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng agreed to consider a plea deal. Prothero said it was “a huge relief in terms of what I knew about where the bodies were.”
Ridgway is serving 48 consecutive life sentences in a Washington state prison. King County Superior Court Judge Brian Gain, who initially oversaw the case, told us, “Mark and the other attorneys serve as an example of how dedicated, professional attorneys should work.”
In 2006, Prothero published Defending Gary: Unraveling the Mind of the Green River Killer. Writing the book and giving presentations on the case, he says, “have been my catharsis.”