JBLM deserter named prime suspect in Redicab Driver murder, previously convicted for sexual assault

TUKWILA, Wash. — The Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) deserter who was arrested in connection to the death of a Redicab driver in January is now a suspect in the investigation. Tukwila Police released a statement Friday stating that while Sgt. Jonathan K. Lee is the suspect, no charges have been filed in this case.

With this announcement, both Tukwila Police and the Army confirmed that Sgt. Lee was convicted of sexually assaulting children and sentenced to 64 years of confinement.

KIRO 7 spoke with the girlfriend of Nicholas Hokema, the Redicab driver who was found dead inside a parking lot at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila on January 15. She says she was shocked to learn of Sgt. Lee’s past.

“I’m in shock that nobody seemed to put together this guy could be a threat to the community,” Nicole Sharkody said.

KIRO 7 reached out to the U.S. Army Office of Special Trial Counsel for more information about Sgt. Lee. A spokesperson sent this statement below:

“Spc. Jonathan K. Lee is currently in military custody at Joint Base Lewis-McChord serving confinement for sexual assault offenses he was found guilty of at a court-martial on Jan. 19, 2024. Army law enforcement is working closely with the Tukwila Police Department regarding the murder of Mr. Hokema as Lee is a suspect in the case. As a matter of policy, the Army has no further comment as the investigation is ongoing.” – Michelle McCaskill, Director of Communications

KIRO 7 also asked McCaskill if there were more details about the sexual assault convictions. McCaskill said she is working with he prosecution team to gather those details.

Sharkody says from the beginning that more could have been done to contain Sgt. Lee to JBLM.

“To still have vehicle access. He drove off of JBLM in a vehicle,” Sharkody said.

As the investigation continues, Sharkody hopes change will come from this so no other person or family goes through this.

“There needs to be a more thorough investigation as to what went wrong and why and who exactly let this happen,” Sharkody said.

She also plans to continue to fight for Nicholas.

“Because I am never going to forget you,” Sharkody said.