Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Anthony Boggess

Anthony Boggess

ARLINGTON — An Arlington man who strangled his former roommate during a suspected mental health episode has been sentenced to 21 years and two months in prison.

Anthony Boggess, 33, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and first-degree arson earlier this month in the death of James Thrower, 65, of Marysville.

Thrower, who had been roommates with the defendant, was letting Boggess stay in his home to shelter from the cold, the charges say.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Boggess faced roughly 13 to 21 years. Last week, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Miguel Duran handed down a sentence on the high end.

Boggess did not have any previous felony convictions. In June 2020, Boggess was convicted of disorderly conduct and violation of a no-contact order following another incident with Thrower.

The defendant reported being diagnosed with schizophrenia. In a 41-page report in October, social worker Tiffany Cunningham found “damaging life events” left Boggess with an “inability to control his homicidal impulse.”

“There is no indication that Anthony engaged in any real reasoned cost/benefit analysis of his actions leading up to the instant offenses,” Cunningham wrote. “Such short-range decision making is consistent with reactive and judgment impulsivity, both of which seemed to overpower Anthony’s senses the night of Mr. Thrower’s homicide.”

A later evaluation by a neuropsychologist, Dr. Paul Connor, found Boggess showed “moderate and widespread neuropsychological impairments,” possibly consistent with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

On New Year’s Eve in 2021, Boggess and Thrower were drinking on the porch at his home in the 5000 block of 88th Street NE, the defendant later told investigators. Boggess suddenly felt “flushed,” and like he was going to “lose control and do something.”

Thrower asked his guest to leave, according to the defendant’s account. As Boggess headed to the front door, he turned around and strangled Thrower. Boggess wrapped Thrower’s body in a tarp, then planned to burn down the house, according to court documents. The voices of “demons” were telling him what to do, the defendant later reported.

Five days later, Thrower’s coworker went to his home to check on him after he missed work, according to charges. The coworker had been texting Thrower’s phone, but became concerned when his responses were out of character.

Boggess had been texting on the deceased man’s phone, the charges say.

The coworker entered the home and smelled a strong odor of gasoline. She found Boggess at the home with “three scratches across the left side of his chest,” according to her statement to investigators. Boggess claimed two men attacked him and Thrower.

She called the police. By the time officers arrived, Boggess had fled the scene.

In the garage, Thrower’s body was still wrapped in the gray tarp.

Police arrested Boggess in Seattle three days later.

Thrower’s loved ones sent letters to the judge prior to Boggess’ sentencing.

“Our lives shattered forever,” Thrower’s sister wrote. “And to find out what (Boggess) did to him, where he left him? And what he had planned for him still was so horrific. My brother did not deserve that death!!”

His niece wrote that she looked up to him as a father figure.

“I always dreamed about being able to give back to Uncle Jim in the way he gave so much to me. He was going to walk me down the aisle,” she wrote. “There is still so much I was looking forward to sharing with him, and it hurts me every day that he’s not here.”

Thrower was planning on retiring and moving closer to his family.

“For the last two years my family and I have been through so much tears, frustration, anger, disappointment, depression, confusion, felt our brother’s life meant nothing to the state of Washington,” his sister wrote. “Anthony could have walked out the door, my brother was trying to help him, because he cared for Anthony.”

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434;; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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