Felon charged with pimping after Edgewater Hotel bust

by: Casey McNerthney Updated:

Harold Murphy, a repeat felon, was arrested after police said he continued his pattern of pimping young women. His arraignment for his latest charge is June 18. (DOC)

A sex offender with a history of being a pimp has been charged with promoting prostitution after police said he sent two young women to the Edgewater Hotel for sex.

Harold Murphy, 23, has a history of prostituting minors and was given a 36-month sentence in 2010. He was released about a month before police said he was advertising the sexual services again.

The police vice unit ruse began in late May when a detective sent Murphy a text message.

"On May 28, I received a text message that had two pictures, one of a blond, and one of an Asian female," Detective William Guyer wrote in a probable cause document. "After the message Murphy texted 'blond and Asian," he then texted asking "whats your budget pal."

The undercover detective proposed $500 and more for another sexual act. Murphy responded he wanted $500 for each girl, though an $800 price was negotiated for both, police said.

Guyer recorded a phone call with Murphy on May 29, and in that conversation the details were confirmed again, prosecutors said.

"I advised that I was staying at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle," Guyer wrote. Murphy agreed to meet there at 8 p.m.

"The vice unit coordinated an undercover sting at the Edgewater Hotel in anticipation of Harold Murphy delivering two females to me," Guyer wrote. "At 19:30 hrs I received a text message from Murphy stating that he was picking up the girls now. I let him know that I would be in the bar."

Murphy later called saying he couldn't make it, but the girls would, police said. Outside surveillance reported seeing his silver BMW X5 driving into the valet area with two young women inside.

Once at the bar, Guyer and the young women discussed the sexual acts in detail before the arrest team moved in, court documents show. One turned 18 earlier this year and the other was 20.

Murphy was arrested later.

Murphy has a history that includes robbery, unlawful gun possession, and attempting to elude police. He's had five warrants in King County since he was 18, but despite Murphy’s history, he was removed from Department of Corrections supervision twice since 2011.

The DOC supervision caseload is the lowest it's been in decades because of budget problems. In 2002, the Department of Corrections supervised about 65,000 offenders statewide. But Senate Bill 5990, which was enacted in 2003, reduced that number to 28,000.

After two other legislative acts – Senate Bill 5288 passed in 2009 and SB 5891 passed in 2012 year – DOC's supervision load was dropped to about 17,000 offenders in the community

Murphy's being held in King County Jail in lieu of $350,000 bail. His arraignment, where he's expected to enter a plea, is scheduled for June 18.