State Supreme Court overturns sentence of man in death of 80-year-old woman

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(Photo: Washington Department of Corrections)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Supreme Court has overturned a prison sentence given to a Nevada man in the cold-case death of an 80-year-old Skyway woman.

Arlene Roberts was strangled in 1978. Her body was found in her trailer home at the Lakeshore Manor Mobile Home Park at 11448 Rainier Ave South.

No arrest was made until 2010, when a detective matched fingerprints to Ronald Wayne MacDonald, who was living in Reno.

MacDonald had a history of burglaries, but denied there was any evidence linking him to the killing. During his trial, King County prosecutors agreed to let him walk free if he entered a modified guilty plea to manslaughter.

But at sentencing, the detective in the case asked for the maximum five-year term, and the judge agreed.

In a 6-3 decision Thursday, the court said the state violated the plea agreement when the detective undermined it.

MacDonald can now withdraw his plea or seek to have its terms enforced at the trial court.


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