Suspect in wife’s shooting released from jail

  • Fri Mar 16th, 2012 4:44pm
  • News

By Rikki King Herald Writer

BOTHELL — A Bothell man was ordered released from jail Friday while under investigation for first-degree murder in the shooting death of his terminally ill wife.

A judge, prosecutors and police all agreed that Donald J. McNeely, 54, was not a flight risk or a threat to himself or others. He was released without bail.

McNeely was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly shot his wife, killing her.

He reportedly told police that his wife was suffering from a terminal medical condition. He also said she previously had asked him to shoot her, court papers show.

The couple’s grown children supported McNeely’s release. They burst into tears in court on Friday. They hugged one another and thanked the judge.

Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui had said on Thursday that she was hesitant to release McNeely, because there were still firearms in his home. She also was worried that McNeely hadn’t been thoroughly evaluated for mental health concerns.

The family arranged for the guns to be secured with a friend, the judge was told Friday.

McNeely also met with a social worker, who ruled out any mental health worries, his attorney said.

The judge originally had set bail at $500,000. Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Julie Mohr on Friday asked that bail be maintained, citing the serious nature of the allegations.

“At this point, we’re still so early in the investigation we’re still trying to figure out the details of what occurred,” she said.

The judge on Friday released McNeely on the conditions that he not possess any firearms and not commit any new crimes.

Bui also ordered that he check in with his attorney every business day.

McNeely called 911 a little after 3 p.m. Wednesday to report the shooting at the couple’s home, north of Bothell. Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies found the woman’s body inside.

Officials haven’t released her name, but she is identified in property records as Linda McNeely, 52.

Donald McNeely reportedly has told detectives that his wife was sleeping on the couch at the time of the shooting. He said he sat next to her with the gun for about two hours before firing it, court papers said.

The couple’s son told police that his mother had a serious medical condition, and his father had been caring for her.

The couple’s daughter told detectives that about four months ago, she overheard her mother ask her father to shoot her. The daughter told her father not to do it.

Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit detectives on Friday declined to release further details about their investigation.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;