Share story

A 45-year-old man with a history of mental-health and addiction issues has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of his mother and stepfather in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood last week.

Richard Parenteau Jr., 45, is alleged to have killed his mother and stepfather after his mother gave him an ultimatum about moving out of the family’s South Park home, prosecutors wrote in charging papers filed Wednesday in King County Superior Court.

According to the charging documents, a neighbor heard an argument July 17 in which the mother, 70-year-old Linda Parenteau, was telling her son he had to move out by September.

The neighbor was able to hear because the windows were open, prosecutors said.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

The same neighbor later told police that the next day he saw Richard Parenteau cleaning out the back of his stepfather’s van and also noticed that the windows of the house had been covered with blankets, prosecutors said.

Parenteau told the neighbor his mother and her husband had gone on vacation, prosecutors wrote.

On Saturday, police were called to a report of a body found at a small park near Eighth Avenue South and South Portland Street on the Duwamish Waterway. Police identified the victim as Parenteau’s stepfather, David Wells, 69.

Based on injuries to the head, detectives determined Wells had been killed elsewhere, and crime-scene investigators found a blood trail that extended “just two short blocks,” the charging documents say.

After identifying Wells, detectives went to his house in the 700 block of South Southern Street, which is five blocks south of where the body was found, according to prosecutors.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for the home and found Parenteau inside, the statement says.

While detectives were serving the search warrant, a second person called 911 to report finding a woman’s body under the First Avenue South bridge, according to prosecutors.

The victim was identified as Linda Parenteau, prosecutors said.

According to charging documents, Wells died of blunt-force injuries to the head and Linda Parenteau also suffered head wounds but died of asphyxiation from having a large wad of toilet paper stuffed down her throat.

Police found an ax handle covered with blood in the home and the head of the ax behind the front passenger seat in Wells’ van, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Richard Parenteau Jr. has had multiple contacts with police over the last two years and had been taken in for involuntary mental-health commitment. His mother told police her son had mental-health issues and had a history of using OxyContin and methamphetamines, prosecutors said.

In their request for a high bail, prosecutors said Parenteau had made written threats to kill family members and police, and also that he planned to cut himself and bleed on his neighbor’s children and “kill the whole town by himself.”

Parenteau is being held in the King County Jail on $5 million bail. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 6.

Christine Clarridge can be reached at or 206-464-8983.

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.