Man gets 10 years for killing woman

SEATTLE – A federal judge Friday sentenced Wesley Vernon Jefferson Sr. to 10 years in prison for the death of a young Tulalip mother.

Sophia Solomon, 23, was killed Dec. 21, 2004, near her home on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

Jefferson, 22, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter earlier this year under an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik sentenced Jefferson to the maximum term allowed under the law.

“A certain part of me wishes I could double, triple or quadruple the sentence,” Lasnik told Jefferson Friday in U.S. District Court. “You know that you have done something that is almost unspeakably horrible.”

Jefferson strangled Solomon, the mother of his three young children, during an argument, according to court records.

He then attempted to cover up the crime by making her death appear to be a suicide, assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman said.

Tulalip tribal police detectives, along with FBI agents, later determined that Jefferson was responsible for the young woman’s death.

Solomon’s family attended Friday’s hearing, and spoke to Jefferson.

“You killed a part of me when you took my daughter,” Tamara Hayes said. “This is the cruelest thing anyone has ever done to me.”

Jefferson declined to address the court.

His attorney, Jennifer Wellman, said her client was sorry and had written Lasnik a letter to express his remorse.

The judge encouraged Jefferson to make good use of his time in prison.

“You have a huge debt to pay (to your children), to your community and what you deprived the community of,” Lasnik said.

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

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