Woman Robs, Kills Pawn Shop Owner

What looks to be a robbery and murder of a wealthy Portlander has taken place. Jimmy Pearson, 63, owner of the A1 Hawk pawn shop chain, was murdered on March 1 in his mansion along the Willamette River. Pearson was known for operating three pawn shops in Portland. A 24-year-old woman (Nistasha Tate) is accused of killing Pearson and supposedly has now admitted to it. 

Prosecutors said the story unfolded as the two had met a month earlier. Tate messaged Pearson on the day he was killed asking if she could come by to hang out and have drinks. Surveillance recordings from Pearson’s Ring home security system showed Tate entering Pearson’s home at 12:42 a.m. with an empty red duffel bag, according to the investigation. Two hours later, the footage showed Tate walking out. She appeared to be wearing “light colored” gloves that she was not wearing when she entered the house, investigators found. 

Ms. Tate went back into the house and came out with the duffel bag, which appeared full, as well as a small container, according to court records. She then brought out a blue bin and placed it in her car. She left the house at 2:46 a.m. Tate, who was driving a black 2006 Mercedes Benz, was stopped within minutes by Milwaukie police Officer Eduardo Sanchez, according to court filings.

Sanchez noted that Tate had a gun on the passenger seat. The officer seized the gun, citing “officer safety concerns.” Tate admitted to illegally obtaining the gun. The gun had three spent cartridges and three unfired ones. Sanchez searched the car, with several bags occupying it including one or two large suitcases in the backseat and one tote was filled with jewelry and coins.

Pearson was found two days later “face down with one single shot to the back of his head that instantly killed him,” Brock said. The house was messy, as if “someone was ransacking the house looking for valuables,” he said. Tate was arrested April 12 at a Greyhound bus terminal in Florida.

Nistasha Tate was sentenced to life in prison. She will be eligible to pursue parole in 25 years. Clackamas County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Jones informed Tate she is not a candidate for early release and she would serve every day of her sentence until she is eligible for parole at age 49.