A mentally ill man who killed former Seattle radio talk-show host Mike Webb more than two years ago was sentenced today to 20 years in prison.
A King County Superior Court judge lambasted a mentally ill transient in court Friday, calling the man “cunning, callous and calculating” for killing Seattle radio talk-show host Mike Webb with an ax and then hiding the remains.
Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell then surprised the courtroom packed with Webb’s friends and family by handing Scott White a sentence far above what was being sought by the King County Prosecutor’s Office. White, 30, will spend about 20 years behind bars for the April 2007 slaying.
Webb’s brother and sister, who were upset by Prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s decision to seek a 12-year sentence for second-degree murder in exchange for White’s guilty plea, were pleased with the sentence.
“I’m grateful for the judge’s common sense in the case,” said Wayne Webb, the slain man’s brother.
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The reason for the slaying has been hotly contended. While White’s attorney said he was defending himself against a sexual attack from the older man, Webb’s family believes the slaying was premeditated so White could steal from Webb.
Prosecutors had initially charged White with first-degree murder, but earlier this year the charge was reduced when a mental-health expert for the state expressed doubt over White’s ability to plan the crime, said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Don Raz.
“His long history of mental illness created the risk that he would be found guilty of a lesser charge at trial,” said Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for Satterberg.
White pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on June 4. Defense attorney Julie Lawry said that White has schizoaffective disorder, which causes intense mood swings and symptoms similar to schizophrenia.
White read from a prepared statement Friday. He apologized and said that he’s “filled with so much pain and sorrow.”
“The person that did this evil deed is not who I want to be,” White read.
White and Webb met in the fall of 2006 at a treatment group for drug and alcohol addicts in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Lawry said.
Webb, an openly gay man, soon invited the unemployed man to move into his house and care for him after he broke his arm, according to court documents.
Webb, 51, had worked as an on-air personality at KIRO-AM until he was fired after being convicted for filing a false insurance claim.
Lawry said the two men soon began using drugs together. White claims Webb repeatedly tried to force him into a sexual relationship, Lawry said. White claimed that he attacked Webb with an ax because felt pressured into sex.
After the slaying, White hid Webb’s body in the basement crawl space.
He took Webb’s debit card and pawned a few items from the home for cash, and text-messaged Webb’s friends and family, posing as Webb, saying that he was out of town, police said. White left the house and lived at a Queen Anne park.
But Ramsdell blasted White’s defense and said there was no credible evidence to show that Webb supplied him with drugs or tried to pressure him into sex.
“The facts of this murder are indisputably horrific and gruesome,” Ramsdell said. “In my mind, Mr. White is not some poor, unfortunate victim of circumstance. He’s a master manipulator who will do whatever it takes to attain his own ends.”
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org