EVERETT — The last thing Charles Wall Jr. did before he was murdered was offer a smoke to a stranger.
Wall was living on the streets in Everett when Anthony Middendorf shot him in the back four years ago, shortly after the two smoked cannabis together.
On Thursday, loved ones mourned the loss of their “Uncle Charlie” at a sentencing hearing in Snohomish County Superior Court. Judge Marybeth Dingledy sentenced Anthony Middendorf to just over 16 years in prison followed by three years of probation for the killing of Wall, 46.
“He was a good man,” Linda Wall, a sister of the slain man, told the court. “He would give anything to anybody. For his life to be taken and left on the side of the street — I don’t get it.”
On the morning of July 28, 2018, Wall was sitting and smoking near the 52nd Glass Shop in Everett.
Middendorf, of Wenatchee, was walking around 4:30 a.m. with two other men on Evergreen Way when he left the group. He approached Wall, a stranger. The pair smoked weed. Middendorf demanded Wall’s bag of cannabis. They fought over the bag.
Middendorf pulled out a .22-caliber gun and shot Wall, charging papers say. He joined the two other men and fled the scene, ditching his gun as he ran.
Later that morning, a woman walking past the parking lot thought Wall was asleep and called 911.
Police arrived to the parking lot and pronounced Wall dead around 6 a.m.
An investigation began, but leads ran cold and no suspects were arrested until two years later.
In May of 2020, a Chelan County Jail guard told detectives he’d overheard an incarcerated man bragging about a robbery and shooting that happened in Everett. The man was Middendorf, who had been doing time for possession of a controlled substance in a separate case.
Middendorf was arrested the following month and charged with murder.
Last month, Middendorf, now 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a firearm allegation.
Under state guidelines, Middendorf faced a range of a little over 16 to 24½ years in prison. Deputy prosecutor Halley Hupp and defense attorney Court Will presented the judge with an agreed recommendation to sentence him at the low end of that range.
At sentencing, Will said the defendant takes full responsibility for his actions in the case and has expressed extreme remorse.
“(Middendorf), not as an excuse, but at that time was very much struggling with drugs and alcohol,” the defense attorney said in court. “That certainly factored heavily, as did the company he kept at that time. … He is truly dedicated, to moving forward for the rest of his life as a sober person.”
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Dingledy told the court that many cases she hears involve substance use and groupthink among teens and young adults.
“This gentleman shared his marijuana with you,” the judge said. “And what did you do? You shot him. You killed him. You extinguished a life. I’m sure when you got back into your right mind when you were in jail, you probably were devastated by what you did. But none of us can take back what we’ve done.”
Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterellen.
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