A 26-year-old Nooksack tribal member accused of killing a man by bludgeoning him with an ax pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in U.S. District Court Thursday.
Levi Eugene Charles, 26, admitted he killed a 68-year-old Sauk-Suiattle tribal member Kenneth Joseph by striking him in the head and face with an ax as he was burglarizing Joseph’s home.
Prosecutors are recommending a sentence between 22 and 27 years in prison when Charles is sentenced on Aug. 2.
Charles admitted to police going to the home in October to steal items to sell for cash.
Joseph woke up when he heard the intruder and confronted him. Charles hit Joseph with a mini baseball bat several times, then grabbed an ax from near the front door of the house and hit the victim with that in the head and face.
Investigators say he also stole an ATM card from Joseph’s wallet, and took a TV and other items from the house. He used the bank card a few hours later to take $420 from Joseph’s bank account.