Woman admits to killing her husband, burying him in yard

EVERETT — Michele Donohue kept a deadly secret for almost a decade.

On Friday, the Arlington woman came clean, admitting that she killed her husband, Byron Wright, in 2004 and buried him in the backyard of their Arlington home.

Donohue pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a Snohomish County courtroom filled with Wright’s family and friends. In exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Cindy Larsen agreed to recommend a 15-year prison sentence.

Donohue faces up to 18 years when she’s sentenced later this month.

Wright’s disappearance has been a mystery since the fall of 2004 when he failed to show up for his long-held job at the Boeing Co.

Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives found his dismembered body in February, inside a plastic tote and two bags buried under two feet of dirt and a cement floor. An autopsy showed that Wright was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck. He was 53.

For years Donohue told the slain man’s family, the courts and others that Wright had left her for a younger woman. She claimed that he left everything behind, including his beloved car collection.

Donohue divorced Wright in October 2004, likely a short time after she killed him.

September of that same year she ordered four loads of dirt. She claimed to be making a hill for her daughter to use sledding.

She later remarried and confessed to her new husband that she stabbed Wright. After the attack, she said Wright asked her to call an ambulance. She refused because Wright wouldn’t apologize, according to court papers. Donohue told her new husband she dismembered Wright in the kitchen and buried him in a shallow grave next to the shop. She bought some dirt to hide the grave.

Her new husband and his two buddies eventually dug up Wright’s body and buried him under a shop floor. Donohue was afraid she would lose the house to foreclosure and wanted her secret hidden, under cement.

Her plan began unraveling late last year when a jail inmate revealed to sheriff’s detectives that there was a body hidden on Donohue’s property on Wade Road.

The informant explained that there was illegal activity going on there, including a “chop shop.” He became nervous that Donohue might call the cops to get back at her current husband.

The informant said Donohue’s husband mistreated her and had moved his younger, pregnant girlfriend onto the property.

One of the men who helped moved Wright’s body assured the informant that Donohue wouldn’t call police because she had killed her ex-husband.

The informant later agreed to wear a wire while talking to one of the body movers. The man admitted to his part in covering up the killing while speaking with the wired informant.

Donohue also was caught on tape complaining about her current husband and making statements about “hoping someone would get rid of him.”

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

More in Local News

These little piggies stay home

Norman, who was spotted last week in Everett, is part of a trio kept as pets by the “pig whisperer.”

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

Street-legal ATVs approved for some roads near Sultan

Supporters foresee tourism benefits. Opponents are concerned about injury and pollution risks.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

5 teens in custody in drug-robbery shooting death

They range in age from 15 to 17. One allegedly fatally shot a 54-year-old mother, whose son was wounded.

Most Read