Gary Raub, a homeless regular around the Hill, arrested for 36-year-old murder

Gary, originally uploaded by Tim Durkan.

Gary Sanford Raub, a homeless man who had been a regular on the streets of Capitol Hill, was arrested this week in a 1976 Kennebec, Maine murder case:

Gary Sanford Raub, 63, is listed as a transient on the Kennebec County Superior Court complaint charging him with murder and criminal homicide in the first degree and saying he “knowingly inflicted great physical suffering” on Blanche M. Kimball, a retired dental technician and practical nurse who occasionally took in boarders.

The Seattle Police Department aided the investigation by tricking Raub into providing a DNA sample in July by asking him to participate in a chewing gum survey.

The Stranger featured this interview with Raub in 2010 following the shooting death of his friend John T. Williams by SPD:

As we spoke, Raub told me a bit about himself. He said he served in the war in Vietnam and was held in a prisoner of war camp in Cambodia for three years. While he was a POW, he said, he lived in a bamboo cage set in a river that rushed around his legs. His captors used a gaff on him and yanked out his teeth, he said, and as he talked, I could see his toothless gums. One day, Raub said, he was working in a rice paddy, when he saw a sharp rock in the water. He fell to his knees and stuffed the rock down his throat, he said. That night he used the rock to cut open the bamboo cage and escaped. Using skills he had learned as a boy, he studied the night sky and found his way to his base. Raub said that when he got there, no one could believe he was still alive.

Now it’s 40 years later, and he says he sleeps outside the Value Village thrift store. He quit staying in shelters after being robbed repeatedly. In the mornings, he trudges to the coffee shop. I have seen him trudging, like an old devout Buddhist, though he is a Christian.

Raub had a local criminal record peppered with relatively minor incidents until an October, 2011 assault. Around the Hill, he was a mostly quiet presence who occasionally found a seat inside one of the neighborhood cafes to have a cup of coffee. We saw him shuffled along here and there. Sad to have him wrapped up in such an awful story.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

29 thoughts on “Gary Raub, a homeless regular around the Hill, arrested for 36-year-old murder

  1. Talked with a few times over the years, even taking his photo on Broadway. He seemed a very friendly soul. I hope he receives his fair day in court and the victim her justice.

  2. Why are there so many gross and scary people running all around Seattle. It is insane. Can’t think of how many times I’ve passed that guy on the street. Oh, just another murderer.

  3. What? This comment is absurd. Where are you from? Have you been to San Francisco? This city isn’t overrun by murderers and homeless people, you bumpkin.

  4. Yes, sometimes homeless people are gross and scary….and I wish more of them would get into transitional housing…but to generalize that they are all murderers and criminals is a bit unfair, don’t you think? Most of them are strange, but harmless.

    Most murderers look and act normal…such as the angry creep who assassinated Yancy Noll recently.

  5. Yes, this has always confused me too. I just can’t understand why homeless, penniless people can’t manage to keep themselves clean, groomed, and well-dressed. Geeze, all they’d have to do is panhandle outside Macy’s and Gene Juarez every now and then, and all their problems would be solved.

  6. Bahaha. I was hoping my comment would stir up some trouble. I am, in fact, born and raised in Seattle. I am a gay man and I live on Capitol Hill. I travel to San Francisco frequently. And holy cow! There are a lot of homeless in SFO. But, it’s different. In San Francisco, I never feel like I’m drowning in a sea of filth. Take a walk down 3rd Avenue, Pioneer Square, University District. Sometimes the homelessness, mental illness and street nuisance is overwhelming! Why does it feel like that here and not there? Of course Seattle is not full to the brim with murderers, but if one Capitol Hill street ruffian turns out to be another, what other crimes are hidden behind those all those hollow eyes and shaggy hairdos out there? The Seattle Times has recently run articles about similar topics. And it’s really funny actually. This year, I had two out of town guests, they were both overwhelmed by the homelessness. In years before, I’ve never had this issue with visitors. is it getting worse? Maybe. But if it is, why is it? Or if it’s not, why is it now becoming an issue, where before an issue did not exist? I’ve been all over the country. And Seattle is unique. It is one of the best places–if not– I’ve seen in the whole country. But it seems that the plethora of positive stimuli is weighted with noxious stimuli. So is this just the price to pay for living in a great place? To deal with a noxious street environment? Or, what can we do to clean up the streets, provide adequate care for the homeless and mentally ill, and create a city that abounds with the positive and is slight with the negative? All great questions, who has the answers?

  7. Perhaps you should get involved with the issue to learn more about it; that might help you answer your own questions. The Compass Center, Downtown Emergency Services, YouthCare, Real Change are all organizations that gladly welcome volunteers. 40% of youth living on the street are LGBT–kicked out of their homes because they’re gay. Maybe helping out will give you a better idea of the situation.

  8. Sad to have him wrapped up in such an awful story? While his personal story of his past in Viet Nam and Cambodia may be tragic, as are the stories of others I have known who were there, what I find to be sad is the last moments of the 70 year old woman he stabbed multiple times before she died.
    I knew Raub also and I understand the added layer of mental illness and the government’s (hence, our) neglectful care of them and find it appalling, but please don’t end this article on the note of how sad for him to be wrapped up in such an awful thing. It was much worse for Blanche Kimball…

  9. can someone pull this guys service record? I’ll put twenty bucks that says he never went to Vietnam or even anywhere but on more than a couple of alcohol fueled psychedelic trips while sitting in on the fourth run of The Deer Hunter.

  10. “Sad to have him wrapped up in such an awful story.”
    It makes it sound as though he were passive in this… story? It’s not a story it’s a brutal murder. Didn’t he stab an elderly woman to death 36 years ago? Who is the victim? He got 36 years of freedom. My sympathy to the relatives and friends of this woman who lived with this injustice for almost 4 decades. Too bad he wasn’t caught immediately it would have saved this womans family 4 decades of pain.

  11. “Police found Kimball’s body inside her Augusta home on June 12, 1976, after neighbors reported her missing. She was found with 23 stab wounds to the chest, two to the abdomen, 16 lacerations to the head, and three cuts on her hands. Her case is the oldest unsolved homicide in Maine’s history, the Press Herald reported”

    He’s not “wrapped up in such an awful story”. He brutually murdered an elderly woman when he was a young man and got away with it for almost 40 years.

  12. I know from first hand experience he’s mentally ill. He deficated all over a coffee shop bathroom once and was banmed from the store. I don’t know how much of his Vietnam story I believe either. Sounds like a bit of a fabrication to me

  13. OOOOOOOHHHHHHHH a random internet stranger thinks that this person might be a liar because he’s mentally ill!!!! Throw the man in jail forever!

    Cuz of course, being interned in a POW camp during one of the worst wars in American history might not cause ANY mental trauma AT ALL.

  14. I tried to help find services for him through the VA. He had told me his whole story of being a pow and also a Macaw native from the Olympic Peninsula, he told me they beat him into a coma and he had a steel plate in his head. i have seen his temper, we thought it was PTSD but his story never panned out. He was not a vet, I found out through the VA and also some EMTs who picked him up. Now if you read the news articles they mention him being from Georgia and Maine. He is a pathological liar and was never from here. I have known him for a number of years trying to help him, falling for his insane sad story. It is very sad for the woman he murdered. He has lived his life very disturbed because of what he did to her but making all of us in this community feel sorry for him. He won’t be homeless anymore.

  15. He’s not a veteran. He has lied about his military service for 40 years. It’s funny that people are so quick to claim “alleged murderer” but nobody acknowledges that he’s an “alleged veteran.” There is no proof that he’s a military veteran, so don’t be so quick to have sympathy for him. A New York study found that over 90% of supposed homeless “veterans” had no military experience whatsoever, and half of those who had military experience had less than one year, including an alarming number who didn’t even make it through basic training. Read these stories with some amount of critical thinking and not with your emotions stuck in overdrive.