Guilty plea in death of landlord

ARLINGTON — An Arlington man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree arson Tuesday in the February 2012 death of his landlord.

Prosecutors alleged that Gary A. McLaughlin III strangled Cynthia Goldman, 54, of Arlington, and then set the house on fire. The two reportedly had argued over his rent being overdue.

McLaughlin, 23, could face up to 20 years in prison under state sentencing guidelines.

The Feb. 15, 2012, killing was discovered when firefighters were summoned to Goldman’s burning home in the 18600 block of Silverleaf Place. The house was heavily damaged. Crews found Goldman’s body in the living room. Investigators also detected the smell of gasoline near where the fire started and Goldman’s body. The medical examiner later determined she’d been strangled before the fire started.

McLaughlin had rented a room in the home and a search of his room turned up a gas can in the closet. Witnesses told detectives that Goldman had problems getting him to pay his rent. They also heard from his friends that he reportedly had asked for help in establishing an alibi, and claimed he’d started the fire after Goldman died in “an accident,” according to court papers.

Arrested a couple of days after the killing, he reportedly told detectives that he’d choked her during a confrontation over unpaid rent, court papers said. After he realized she was dead, McLaughlin reportedly admitted to dousing her with gasoline and setting the house ablaze.

Both of the convictions are considered strikes under the Three Strikes Law, lawyers said in court Tuesday.

Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of about 13 years. McLaughlin remains in custody pending an Aug. 21 sentencing.

More in Local News

Police presence returns to Edmonds School District

Jacob Hubby is set to walk the halls of Meadowdale High School as a school resource officer.

Mukilteo crabber missing; his boat was found at Hat Island

Frank Urbick set out Thursday morning but did not return.

Police looking for leads in case of missing Snohomish man

Henry John Groeneveld, 63, was last seen on Monday, when he said something about going to “the river.”

Separate Everett fires send man to hospital, damage boat

The man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the early morning fire.

Suspected escort charged with felony assault, robbery

She allegedly told police she shot the man in the head “because he was performing (a sex act) wrong.”

Lives were on the line

After an estimated 350K emergency calls over 35 years, dispatcher Steve Williams is set to retire.

Celebrating the origins of Christmas

LDS church holds annual nativity festival featuring more than 600 sets.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Trooper’s car struck when he was arresting man for DUI

She drove away but was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Most Read