By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — A felon charged Wednesday with murder in the stabbing death of an elderly Marysville man could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Bail was set at $1 million Wednesday for Robert Ruben Kennedy, who was charged in Everett District Court with first-degree murder, robbery and auto theft. It was the same bail amount a judge set Monday for co-defendant Delaney Wood, 28, who’s accused of the same crimes.
The pair is accused of attacking Arthur Schroeder, 82, in his travel trailer Jan. 24.
Kennedy, 26, has convictions for first-degree robbery and attempted first-degree robbery — both strikes under the state’s persistent-offender law. Voters in 1993 overwhelmingly supported the three-strikes law, billed as a tough-on-crime approach to habitual criminals.
A prosecutor and a defense attorney said Wednesday that Kennedy faces a possible life sentence if he’s convicted.
“It is a potential third-strike case,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf said after Wednesday’s bail hearing.
The Marysville man was convicted in 2004 of participating in the robbery of an Everett adult store in which a knife was used to intimidate a clerk.
In 2010, he was convicted of attempted first-degree robbery after a holdup in Mason County, according to court records. He was released from prison in March.
At the advice of his attorney, the defendant stayed outside the view of a courtroom camera in the Snohomish County Jail on Wednesday. Instead, Everett defense attorney Jesse Cantor sat beside an empty chair during the bail hearing.
“The person who is alleged to be Robert Kennedy is my client,” Cantor said.
The attorney also said he has advised the defendant not to answer questions about his identity.
Judge Tam Bui said she was convinced there was probable cause to hold Kennedy.
Schroeder was found inside his ransacked travel trailer at the Brookside Mobile RV Park in the 9800 block of State Avenue. Furniture was overturned and cabinets left open. Dried blood led investigators to believe he had been dead for several hours.
His pickup truck was missing. It was found burning on vacant land north of Arlington hours after the body was discovered.
Kennedy allegedly told a friend that “things went bad” and he was sorry for what happened, according to one of several search warrants filed in the case. Kennedy reportedly said he and Wood went to Schroeder’s home to get money, but the elderly man didn’t want to give them any.
As it turned out, the pair said they only got $200 from the robbery and they split it, according to an acquaintance who spoke with police.
Besides the truck, a cell phone, wallet, jewelry box, two rings and a necklace were missing from Schroeder’s trailer, according to court papers.
Wood allegedly bragged about killing Schroeder because he was a registered sex offender.
Marysville police have said they believe robbery was the primary motive in the killing.
Schroeder spent 18 years in prison for sex offenses, according to state Department of Corrections records. The crimes, involving 20 victims, took place between 1980 and 1983 and included girls ages 8 to 14.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org