After Ingrid Lyne went on a date with John Robert Charlton in April 2016, her body parts were found wrapped in garbage bags in three different locations in Seattle. Charlton was sentenced Friday to more than 27 years in prison for killing Lyne, a woman he’d met online.
Ingrid Lyne’s greatest joy in life was being a mother to her three young daughters.
A healer and a humanitarian, Lyne “lived life large, even though she was petite,” King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector said of the 40-year-old nurse who was strangled and dismembered in a bathtub with a pruning saw in April 2016.
Spector read more than two dozen letters sent to her by Lyne’s relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbors, describing a spirited and funny woman who loved her job at Swedish Medical Center. Through their stories, “I feel like I’ve come to know her in some small way,” Spector said.
Addressing Lyne’s killer, John Robert Charlton, Spector told him Friday she would lock him up for life if she could. Instead, she sentenced Charlton to 27 ¾ years in prison, the harshest sentence she could hand down under the state’s sentencing guidelines.
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“What you did was vicious and cruel beyond anyone’s belief,” the judge said, adding Charlton’s crime was made worse by what he did to Lyne’s body after she was killed, dismembering her and disposing of her remains at different locations throughout Seattle’s Central District.
Some of Lyne’s remains have never been found.
The only good thing Charlton, 39, did was plead guilty to premeditated first-degree murder, thereby sparing Lyne’s family and the rest of the community from having to see such “a shocking and outrageous case” go before a jury, Spector said.
Lyne’s ex-husband, Phil Lyne, said Charlton stole his co-parent and sounding board and his daughters’ devoted and compassionate mother.
“There will be no more motherly advice from Ingrid,” no more July Fourth holidays in Bigfork, Montana, no more trips to the beach or Thursday-night dinners at a steakhouse, he said. His children’s children will never have a maternal grandmother.
“Our daughters continue to thrive but they miss their mother every day,” Lyne said of his girls, Noelle, Brooke and Reese, who were 10, 8 and 6 when their mother was killed.
Friend Nancy Sivitilli said there were no words to describe “the horror everyone felt” after learning of Lyne’s death.
“Ingrid wasn’t just murdered. Her body was brutally violated,” she said.
Sivitilli called Charlton a coward, saying he ran and tried to hide, then claimed he was too drunk to remember what he did.
“No one believes that story,” she said. “You ripped a beautiful person, a vibrant mother, from her daughters … You took her from friends who loved her like a sister.”
Anna Samuel, one of Charlton’s defense attorneys, said she hopes her client’s guilty plea and prison sentence provides Lyne’s loved ones with a sense of closure and perhaps some peace. She noted Charlton’s parents were present in court to support their son and out of respect for “the horror and the pain her (Lyne’s) family is going through.”
Charlton spoke briefly: “I agree there are no words that can alleviate the pain I’ve caused. For that, I’m truly sorry.”
News of Lyne’s death horrified the city, as her body parts were discovered over the course of several spring days in 2016. A vigil was held for Lyne near her Renton home soon after she was killed.
According to court records:
Charlton and Lyne, who met online and had dated for about a month, had planned to attend a Seattle Mariners game together on April 8, 2016. After the game, they went to a bar — where Charlton got drunk — then returned to Lyne’s house in Renton.
Police say Charlton told detectives he woke the next morning on a sidewalk in downtown Seattle, which is where detectives later found Lyne’s 2015 Toyota Highlander — a vehicle Charlton also pleaded guilty to stealing.
The following morning, Phil Lyne arrived at her house to drop off their daughters but Lyne wasn’t there, so he called her mother, Jorga Bass. Together, they went inside and found Lyne’s wallet, cellphone and other personal belongings.
Bass, who shared a phone account with her daughter, noted numerous calls to and from a phone number with a Montana area code later traced to Charlton. She exchanged a few texts with Charlton, explained Lyne was missing and that the family had called 911.
That afternoon, a man living near 21st Avenue and East Pine Street discovered human remains in his recently emptied recycling bin and notified Seattle police. Detectives determined the remains were Lyne’s, court records say.
Charlton, who was arrested April 11, 2016, told detectives he was homeless, had a drinking problem and was “not a normal person,” according to the charging documents.