10-year sentence in Everett strangulation slaying

  • Mon Nov 15th, 2010 9:25pm
  • News

By Diana Hefley Herald Writer

EVERETT — Her parents don’t believe it was self-defense.

His parents don’t believe their son would take someone’s life without provocation.

The truth likely lies somewhere in between, a Snohomish County Superior Court judge concluded Monday.

James Naudon, 26, was sentenced to about 10 years in prison for the murder of Angela Denise Beery. The 39-year-old mother was strangled and stabbed to death May 1.

Naudon stuffed Beery’s body in a sleeping bag and dumped it off the side of a road in south Everett. He fled to California but was arrested and confessed to killing Beery.

He pleaded guilty in October to second-degree murder. In his plea, Naudon said that he killed Beery in self-defense, but acknowledged that a jury likely would find that his use of force was excessive and convict him of murder.

“The injuries were absolutely horrific. Probably the worse I’ve seen in my career,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Dave Hiltner said Monday.

There was evidence that Beery had been strangled and then her neck was cut from ear to ear, Hiltner said. Those kind of injuries aren’t consistent with a claim of self-defense, he said.

Naudon told police that he’d met Beery, who was working as a prostitute, outside an Everett bowling alley. He took her to his apartment. He said he was in the shower when Beery came in, held a knife to his throat and demanded that he give her $100.

Naudon said he grabbed Beery’s arm to try to pull the knife away but they slipped into the bathtub. He said he grabbed her throat and then cut her neck with the knife, court papers said.

That scenario doesn’t make any sense, Hiltner said. Why wouldn’t she have gotten dressed if she was planning on committing a robbery and fleeing the apartment? Hiltner asked. Why would Naudon attempt to strangle her and then have to cut her if it was self-defense?

Hiltner asked Krese to sentence Naudon to 11½ years in prison, nearly seven years below the high-end range. He acknowledged that Naudon didn’t have any criminal history and took responsibility by pleading guilty.

Naudon’s attorney Jon Zulauf recommended a 6½ -year sentence, arguing that there were mitigating factors that called for a sentence below the standard range.

Naudon had no history of violence. The defense’s forensic expert concluded that wounds to Beery’s neck would be consistent with the type of struggle Naudon described, Zulauf wrote in court papers. Moreover, Beery initiated the events of the night when she threatened Naudon with a knife, Zulauf maintained.

Beery’s parents told the judge that Naudon deserved more time for their daughter’s murder.

“Our hearts are broken,” Toni Lemley said.

She said she feels badly for Naudon’s parents but they will have their son back one day.

Mike Naudon apologized to Beery’s parents. His son’s actions and those of Beery have “left gaping holes in the lives of their families,” he said. His son’s sorrow and shame over running away from his responsibility are genuine, he said.

James Naudon broke down in sobs as he asked Beery’s family to forgive him.

“I did a horrible thing. The guilt I feel every day weighs so heavily on my soul,” Naudon said.

Krese said she wasn’t persuaded that the events of the night happened exactly as Naudon described. There is some indication, however, that Beery’s actions made Naudon fearful for his safety.

The judge said she is convinced that Naudon’s remorse is sincere and that he will spend the rest of his life trying to atone for taking Beery’s life.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.