Final guilty plea entered in ‘thrill killing’

Herald staff

MOUNT VERNON — The last of three men charged in the slaying of Navy Lt. j.g. Scott Kinkele of Whidbey Island pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree manslaughter.

Adam Moore, 25, of Anacortes originally was charged with first-degree manslaughter, but pleaded to a reduced charge because of his cooperation in the case.

"We relied very heavily on Adam Moore’s candor and the information he provided enabled us to arrest the shooter and the driver within 48 hours of the crime," Skagit County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Scotty Sells said. "We would have relied heavily on him at trial to convict the shooter and the driver. If we had to give him some consideration to get the principal culprits, we were prepared to do so."

Last month, Skagit County Superior Court Judge Michael Rickert sentenced Eben Berriault, 36, to 55 years in prison, and his half-brother, Seth Anderson, 23, to 35 years in prison for the July 28 murder prosecutors called a "thrill killing." Berriault shot Kinkele, a stranger to him, as he drove west on Highway 20 toward Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

Rickert will sentence Moore Nov. 30. Under standard sentencing guidelines, he faces up to 27 months in prison. Prosecutors plan to recommend a two-year sentence, Sells said.

When a Skagit County sheriff’s investigation led detectives to Moore, he told them what happened as the three were driving around the county the evening of July 27 in Anderson’s car, drinking and listening to music. Along the way, Berriault fired out the car window at a variety of objects, then at a dog, a woman’s car and Kinkele. The woman was frightened but uninjured.

Berriault and Anderson have claimed that Moore was more culpable than he has admitted, Sells said.

"There was even the suggestion that he was the shooter," Sells said. "We considered all this and we don’t believe them. We believe Adam Moore. He was given a polygraph on the critical issues as far as who did what, and he passed it, no question."

Sells and Prosecutor Tom Verge both say the ultimate corroboration to Moore’s description of events that night is that Berriault and Anderson pleaded guilty.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

A photo of "Tazz," an Argentine white Tegu still missing near Granite Falls. (Provided photo)
Tazz the missing tegu reunited with owner in Granite Falls

The 4-foot lizard went missing Friday evening. Searchers located him in a barn, 1 mile away from his home.

A closing sign hangs above the entrance of the Big Lots at Evergreen and Madison on Monday, July 22, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Big Lots announces it will shutter Everett and Lynnwood stores

Marysville store will remain open for now as declining sales and downturn in consumer spending were factors in the closures.

President Joe Biden speaks at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, in Greensboro, N.C., on April 14, 2022. Biden plans to nominate Michael Barr  to be the Federal Reserve's vice chairman of supervision. The selection of Barr comes after Biden's first choice for the Fed post, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew her nomination a month ago (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Washington Democrats voice support for Biden’s decision to drop out of presidential race

Some quickly endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris to replace him on the ballot.

Teenager in stable condition after Everett drive-by shooting Saturday

Major Crime Unit detectives were looking for two suspects believed to have shot the teenager in the 600 block of 124th Street SW.

Miners Complex tops 500 acres in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Nine lightning-caused fires force trail closures and warnings 21 miles east of Darrington. No homes are threatened.

FILE — President Joe Biden arrives for a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 3, 2024. Biden abandoned his campaign for a second term under intense pressure from fellow Democrats on Sunday, July 21, upending the race for the White House in a dramatic last-minute bid to find a new candidate who can stop former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Biden drops out of race, endorses vice president Kamala Harris

The president announced the decision on social media Sunday.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.