KENNEWICK — A convicted murderer is back in the Tri-Cities facing charges that he kidnapping his ex-girlfriend and threatened to kill her.
Jack Waldrop, 53, pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court this week to charges of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault and violating a court order.
He is being held in the Benton County jail on $500,000 bail after being brought back from California in late April.
Waldrop’s trial is set for June 13.
He is accused of beating his ex-girlfriend and taking her on a harrowing ride from Kennewick to an Ellensburg gas station, where she was able to escape and get an employee to call police.
Waldrop was later caught in Mendocino County in California when he left his truck idling and blocking traffic in Willits.
The city is about 200 miles south of the Oregon border and about 140 miles north of San Francisco.
He allegedly led police on a 10- to 12-mile chase after a Mendocino County sheriff’s deputy asked him for his license.
He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and reckless driving. Deputies then discovered the nationwide warrant issued for the kidnapping.
Waldrop had been in a relationship with the 63-year-old woman, but they had broken up and she got a protection order against him, according to court records.
It’s unclear if she was aware that he had been released from an Oregon prison a few years earlier for strangling a girlfriend to death during an argument.
On March 11, despite the court order, Waldrop offered to give his ex a ride to run an errand. At one point, she overheard a conversation with someone on the phone, which prompted her to get out of the truck and head toward a bus stop, according to court records and Kennewick police.
He followed her and insisted that she get back in the truck. He promised to take her back home. Once she was back inside, they started arguing, and it turned violent, according to court records.
He told her “she was going to die today,” according to court records
She fought with him, and at one point fell out of the truck. Waldrop allegedly stomped her, yanked her hair and punched her in the back.
He drove first toward Yakima and then toward Snoqualmie Pass. Along the way he allegedly continued to backhanding her and that he was going to kill her and himself.
When they stopped at an Ellensburg gas station, he told her to get cleaned up. She used the chance to hide in the bathroom. Waldrop tried to yell for her, but was told off by other shoppers.
An employee noticed the woman hiding and she asked for help. Police were called, and Waldrop drove away.
She was taken to a hospital where they found she had two broken ribs and a fractured sternum.
Previous manslaughter conviction
Waldrop served 20 years in Oregon prisons after he strangled his then girlfriend Angela Walker in 1998, according to court records and the Oregon Department of Corrections.
At the time, one of Walker’s friends told the Statesman Journal in Salem that the couple had a tumultuous relationship.
In March 1998, he was convicted of assaulting her during a fight, but they continued to see each other. Neighbors said they could hear the clashes outside the apartment.
During one of those fights, he beat and strangled Walker, said news accounts at the time.
He was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter and released from Oregon Department of Corrections in October 2018.