Accomplice in slaying of homeless man pleads guilty

EVERETT — An Everett woman faces more than eight years in prison for her part in the death of a homeless man whose body was dumped in a swamp last year.

David “Doc” Webster, 54, was found wrapped in a sleeping bag. The Snohomish County medical examiner determined that Webster had been strangled by a bungee cord. His airway also had been blocked by a gag stuffed in his mouth, according to court papers. Webster had been struck multiple times in the head.

Christine Simpson, 50, pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree manslaughter, admitting that she was an accomplice in the killing.

James Archer, 47, remains charged with first-degree murder for his part in the homicide. He is scheduled to go to trial later this year.

Prosecutors believe that Webster was killed over $300. Witnesses told police that Simpson was a methamphetamine dealer who hired men to collect her drug debts.

Simpson claimed she gave Webster money to purchase a half ounce of meth and he never returned. She told someone else she thought the victim had taken cash from her tent at a camp bordering I-5 in Everett.

She admitted to approaching several people, including Archer, her boyfriend, asking them to “deal with” the dispute.

He allegedly admitted to detectives that he repeatedly clobbered Webster with a metal bar and then tied him to a tree. He searched the victim’s belongings, and at some point realized the man was dead.

He allegedly stuffed Webster in a sleeping bag and pulled him into a marshy area.

A man flagged down a sheriff’s deputy about a month later to report spotting Webster’s body.

Simpson was charged with first-degree murder a short time later.

Prosecutors agreed to amend the charge in part because there likely would have been some proof issues at trial when it came to Simpson’s involvement in the killing, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Toni Montgomery said.

The prosecutor will recommend a high-end sentence that could send Simpson to prison for 8½ years. Defense attorney Gurjit Pandher will ask for a 6-year prison term.

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

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