Suspect in Violent Attack Last Month Pleads Not Guilty

March 24, 2021

SEATTLE, Washington—Sean Jeremy Holdip, 41, the man accused of attacking a Japanese woman and her boyfriend last month in the Chinatown-International District pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree assault.

The 41-year-old remained at the King County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond after his not guilty plea during his arraignment hearing on Monday. He was expected to return to court on April 14, according to Komo News.

Authorities have identified Holdhip, a former EMT in New York, as the person who viciously attacked Noriko Nasu and her boyfriend, Michael Poffenbarger, on February 25, near 7th and King streets.

Investigators have said Holdip struck Nasu in the face with a hard, solid object wrapped inside a sock. She was knocked unconscious and suffered a fractured nose and several chipped teeth, reported Komo News.

Poffenbarger, a registered nurse, has said he struck in the head and needed eight stitches following the attack.

Nasu said she believes she was targeted because she is Japanese but the King County Prosecutor’s Office has not filed hate crime charges in the cast because it has been stymied by a lack of evidence.

“So many people have contacted me,” she said Monday during a news conference in Renton attended by Gov. Jay Inslee and other local leaders to call attention to the racist attacks. “The prosecuting attorney’s offices inability and hesitancy to prosecute this as a hate crime was much more hurtful than the attack itself.”

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said the suspect did not hurl racial slurs or express anti-Asian sentiment before or during the incident, making it difficult for the office to prove the crime was racially motivated. However, if racial insults or anti-Asian sentiments are needed, the Atlanta Spa Shooter Robert Aaron Long should be charged with a hate-crime.

“With an assault case, we don’t need to prove motive when we file it,” the spokesman said, adding that the charges could be upgraded later. “But we do with a hate crime.”

If convicted, Holdip could be sentenced to 12 to 14 months in jail, but aggravating factors added to the complaint could allow a judge to extend the sentence to up to 10 years, according to Komo News.

Nasu said she is tired of living in fear.

“The system is not made for us (and) we feel ignored,” she said. “And we want action now.”

Feature Screenshots via Komo News

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