Slain firefighter’s family deal with sudden delay in 34-year-old case

EVERETT, Wash. — Once again, justice was delayed for the family of an Everett firefighter killed in an arson fire 34 years ago.

Firefighter Gary Parks died battling an intense fire at Everett Community College in February 1987.

The suspect, Elmer Nash Jr., was finally supposed to be sentenced on Friday, but he never showed up to court.

As a result, Parks’ family said they were dealing with bottled-up emotions and a lot of pent-up frustration.

“It’s profound anxiety. Profound. It’s terrible,” said Parks’ wife, Kathy Parks.

May 7 was supposed to be a turning point for Kathy and her family, but much to her absolute discouragement, the day ended up like any other since her husband died 34 years ago.

“It’s like a weight of sand that’s just engulfing you … and it gets worse and worse and worse,” Kathy told KIRO 7.

Kathy and her whole family sat in the front of the courtroom, where they planned on reading impact statements in Nash’s sentencing.

Parks’ daughter said she wasn’t surprised Nash skipped his court sentencing.

“I think they gave him too much leeway and something told me he wouldn’t be here,” said Jennifer Parks.

For 34 years, the Parks family waited for an arrest.

In March 2021, their hope for justice came true.

Elmer Nash Jr. pleaded guilty to setting the fire when he was only 12 years old.

Nash’s sentencing is now on hold.

Even so, the judge allowed one of Parks’ friends to give a statement.

“We, the people, deserve the right in our civilized society to be protected from such a repeated criminal,” said Bruce Hansen.

Currently, an arrest warrant is out for Nash’s capture.

Should he be found and arrested, his sentencing will happen Thursday, May 13.