EVERETT — After almost 27 years in prison for the murder of a man in 1995, Steven Eggers will get another chance at freedom.
But he’s going to have to wait.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Marybeth Dingledy resentenced Eggers Wednesday to 38 years in prison for the murder of Blair Scott, setting up the defendant for release in the next decade.
Eggers, now 46, was originally sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for beating Scott and dumping him in the Skykomish River while he was still breathing. Scott was 27.
The Snohomish County Superior Court granted Eggers’ motion to be resentenced on Jan. 30, after recent rulings in the federal and state Supreme Courts decided that judges should consider the ages of young defendants during sentencing.
Dingledy weighed her decision for over a month after testimony at a resentencing hearing in April.
“You need to do everything you possibly can to become a productive person,” Dingledy said. “You’re not ready to do that now. But you do have a chance.”
In December 1995, Michael Skay, then 16, and Eggers, then 19, were at a party in Snohomish with several other people, mostly teenagers, when they decided to beat and rob Scott. They bound him with wire and stuffed him in the trunk of his car. The two drove 9 miles to the Skykomish River near Monroe, where Scott was reportedly beaten again.
The pair threw Scott into the water and left him to die.
Scott’s body was recovered from the Skykomish River on Dec. 19, 1995. The Snohomish County medical examiner determined he drowned to death, according to court records.
When Eggers was arrested, he was driving Scott’s car and wearing the dead man’s boots. He spoke to detectives without a lawyer, saying he got into a fight to protect a girl.
A Snohomish County jury convicted him of aggravated murder in the first degree in August 1996.
“This punishment does meet this crime,” then-Judge Ronald Castleberry said in 1996 when the two were sentenced to life behind bars.
In 2016, then-Superior Court Judge Linda Krese resentenced his co-defendant, Michael Skay, to 32 years. He had already served 20.
Two years later, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that mandatory sentencing in first-degree murder without “considering a defendant’s youthfulness” violated the Eighth Amendment. In the 2021 Monschke decision, the state’s highest court extended the protections to 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds.
Eggers was represented at his resentencing hearing in April by defense attorney Alexandra Manno. She asked the court for a 27-year sentence, which Eggers had already served, potentially setting him up for imminent release.
Manno argued Eggers’ brain was “severely” underdeveloped after a lifetime of abuse and couldn’t control his impulses or regulate his emotion.
Deputy prosecutor Martha Saracino argued that Eggers’ behavior in prison, including the stabbing of a Black prisoner, demonstrated someone who was not rehabilitated.
Over the course of his imprisonment, Eggers has spent 10 years in solitary confinement. After one consecutive year in isolation in 2012, Eggers’ mental health deteriorated to the point of psychosis, psychiatrist Terry Lee testified in court. The Department of Corrections continued to place him in confinement for another two years, according to court records.
Scott’s cousin Chad Davis attended both hearings. In April, he said that having to relive the entire situation wasn’t fair.
“Why is it fair that we have to come here and look at him?” he said in court. “I’m here because of Blair. I was there when they recovered him. Why should I have to go through this again? Why should our family?”
Since the Monschke decision, two men in Snohomish County given life sentences for murder have been resentenced and released. One of them was Arthur Longworth, who was resentenced in February 2022 and spoke in support of Eggers at his hearing in April.
“My remorse can be the seed of my change,” Longworth wrote in 2015 after over three decades behind bars. “Although I cannot undo my crime, I can do good. I can care about others. I can see them.”
When released, Eggers plans to live with his sister in Mason County. He thanked Judge Dingledy for the second chance.