Aaron Livingston is accused of beating his girlfriend and killing 25-year-old Andrew Geissler and another woman Friday night in Tacoma. Investigators believe the violent incident happened after Livingston learned of a possible affair between Geissler and his girlfriend, 39-year-old Julia Wheeler.
On Tuesday, the 38-year old made his first appearance in a Tacoma courthouse, where he pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder.
A day before the killings, Livingston was arrested for assaulting Wheeler and Geissler. He was booked into Pierce County Jail, but released the next morning because prosecutors believed the assaults "did not rise to the level of felony charges."
After he was released, prosecutors say Livingston went to a local bar and exchanged several text messages with Wheeler. He then walked to the home the two shared and found Geissler on the coach.
Investigators believe Livingston became enraged and struck Geissler three times with an ax. He then walked upstairs and found Wheeler in the bedroom. Prosecutors say he beat her with a stick and choked her until she was unconscious.
After the attack, prosecutors say Livingston walked down stairs to the basement, where family friend Denyse Marshall lived. Police say he hit the 60-year-old woman with a "shake weight" before strangling her with an electrical cord.
When he walked back upstairs, prosecutors say Livingston realized Geissler was still breathing, so he grabbed a knife and slit the 25-year-old's throat, killing him. He then went back to the basement and cut Marshall's throat, according to prosecutors.
Still armed with the knife, prosecutors say Livingston walked back to the bedroom with the intention of killing Wheeler, but he decided to "leave it in God's hands," according to prosecutors.
Later that night Livingston flagged down a Tacoma police officer and said he "did some really bad things, hurt some people and needed to go to jail," according to prosecutors.
Tuesday's court proceedings were briefly interrupted when members of Geissler's family erupted in anger as Livingston was walked in.
"This man is a monster and he needs to be put away forever, forever," a family member said in the hallway outside of the courtroom.
With visible swelling and bruising on her face, Wheeler also appeared in court to speak out against Livingston.
"He needed to see that he didn't kill me. He needed to see that we will not back down. He needed to see that there's a phase to the pain he caused," she said.
Wheeler said Livingston never should have been allowed to leave jail after he was initially arrested on Thursday.
"Look at me. He tried to kill me. He tried to strangle me to death," she said. "I was a lot more fortunate than A.J. Geissler and Denyse Marshall. Had the system protected us a little more, two people would be alive today and I wouldn't look like this."