An Oakland, Calif. man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday for killing his girlfriend in a Seattle apartment in June 2011, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Mussie Weldeyohannes, 44, pleaded guilty in October to second-degree murder for the slaying of 25-year-old Rahel Afewerki Sium. Prosecutors had sought an exceptional prison sentence of 30 years — the standard range is 11 to 19 years — because of his history of domestic violence and because the murder took place in the presence of Sium’s then-4-year-old daughter.
Weldeyohannes had previously served eight months in a California prison for threatening Sium, according to the criminal charges. After Weldeyohannes was released from jail in April 2011, Sium phoned him from Seattle and apparently told him she had been living in shelters and had received help from a mutual friend, the papers say.
In early June 2011, Weldeyohannes drove to Seattle to see Sium and the mutual friend, charging papers say. While staying at the friend’s apartment with the friend and Sium, Weldeyohannes allegedly searched Sium’s cellphone and found evidence that she and the friend had had a sexual relationship, charging papers say.
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While the friend and his girlfriend slept in the living room of the friend’s apartment in the Greenwood neighborhood, Weldeyohannes, Sium and Sium’s daughter went into the bedroom, the papers say.
As Sium’s daughter slept, the couple argued and Weldeyohannes strangled Sium on the bed before fleeing in a car, charging papers say.
Weldeyohannes was arrested in Woodland, Wash. after getting a flat tire.