EVERETT — An Everett man will need to spend another half year in the Snohomish County Jail while awaiting sentencing for robbing a transient who was tied to a tree and left to die in the woods in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.
The sentencing of Darron Weidman, 41, on Tuesday was postponed until 2020 during a brief hearing in Snohomish County Superior Court.
As part of a plea deal signed in April, Weidman agreed to testify against Donita Burkley, 33, and Matthew McGowan, 26, who are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Michael Boone, 47. The plea agreement stipulates that Weidman “will make himself available to testify truthfully” at their trials.
Burkley’s trial date has been moved three times, most recently from August to December.
McGowan’s trial date has been postponed to Nov. 5.
Prosecutors plan to ask for a five-year prison term for Weidman after he pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery. They won’t file murder or manslaughter charges if he complies with the conditions set out in the plea document.
On New Year’s Eve 2018, Boone approached Weidman looking to pay someone for sex, according to police documents. Weidman, who later described himself to police as a “protector for the working girls,” told Boone that he could sleep with Burkley for up to $200.
Weidman and Burkley planned to string Boone along to get a hotel room for the night, court records say.
McGowan overheard the plot and offered to join in, according to statements by Weidman and Burkley. Weidman told police that McGowan secretly suggested that they rob Boone for what he had.
According to Weidman’s statements to the police, he then left to retrieve a knife from the camp he and Burkley shared, but he never returned with the weapon after getting high on drugs. Burkley told police that while Weidman was away, McGowan rushed Boone from behind while he and Burkley sat together. McGowan allegedly hit Boone with a piece of wood before choking him until he passed out, then removed Boone’s clothes and tied the man to a tree in the cemetery with a belt, according to Burkley’s statement.
When Burkley and McGowan returned to camp, Weidman accepted a phone that McGowan had stolen from Boone.
Boone’s body was discovered three days later in the woods at Evergreen Funeral Home and Cemetery clad only in an undershirt, underwear and one sock. An autopsy showed he died of exposure. McGowan has a record of child rape, felony theft, burglary, drug offenses, unlawful possession of a firearm and failure to register as a sex offender.
Ian Davis-Leonard: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: IanDavisLeonard.