MOUNT VERNON – An Anacortes man was sentenced today to 55 years in prison for firing a shot that killed a Whidbey Island Navy officer in what prosecutors termed a “thrill kill.”
Eben Berriault, 36, was sentenced in the death of Lt. j.g. Scott Kinkele, who was stationed at the Navy air base at Oak Harbor.
Before the sentencing, relatives, friends and fellow officers of the Annapolis graduate told a Skagit County Superior Court judge what Kinkele’s loss meant to them. A fellow Navy officer testified that Kinkele’s death robbed the nation of one of its “best and brightest.”
Berriault’s mother pleaded for leniency.
Berriault and his half-brother, Seth Anderson, 23, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this month. Anderson’s sentencing was set for Friday.
Kinkele, 23, was shot July 29 while driving on Highway 20 to the air base near Oak Harbor.
Prosecutors say Berriault, Anderson and a third man in their car were out drinking, driving around and taking random shots at lights, signs and other cars.
The men had set out to poach deer, prosecutors said.
Anderson was driving and Berriault fired at the rear window of Kinkele’s car, prosecutors said. Kinkele was shot in the back of the head.
The third man, 25-year-old Adam Moore, was charged with manslaughter.
Berriault, a married carpenter with two children, had a previous criminal record that includes convictions for robbery and manslaughter in the fatal stoning of a 43-year-old man by four teen-agers in Chelan County in 1983.
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