by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Staff Writer
King County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell sentenced Scott White to 20 years behind bars for the April 2007 slaying of openly Gay radio talk-show host Mike Webb.
The July 10 sentencing came as a shock to the courtroom packed with Webb's friends and family because Prosecutor Dan Satterberg asked for a 12-year sentence for second-degree murder in exchange for White's guilty plea, a request that upset Webb's brother and sister.
"I'm grateful for the judge's common sense in the case," said Wayne Webb, the murdered radio host's brother.
Wayne Webb told Judge Ramsdell, "Nobody deserves to die like that. Mike surely didn't deserve to die at all, let alone at the hands of an axe murderer."
Marion Bogni, Webb's sister, asked the judge to give White "the most time you possibly can."
White's defense attorney asked for a 10-year term.
Before he was sentenced, White read from a prepared statement apologizing for the murder and saying, "The person that did this evil deed is not who I want to be."
Judge Ramsdell called White "cunning, callous and calculating" for killing the Seattle radio talk-show host with an axe and then hiding the remains.
Throughout the trial, the reason for the murder was heavily debated, specifically the mental illness 30-year-old White supposedly suffers from. White's attorney said he was defending himself against unwanted sexual attacks from Webb, while Webb's family believes the murder was premeditated.
Initially, prosecutors charged White with first-degree murder, but on June 4 of this year the charge was reduced to second-degree murder when a mental-health expert for the state expressed doubt over White's ability to plan the crime according to Senior Prosecutor Don Raz.
Julie Lawry, White's defense attorney, said he suffered from schizoaffective disorder, which causes intense mood swings and symptoms similar to schizophrenia.
According to court documents, White and Webb met in 2006 at a treatment group for drug and alcohol addicts. Shortly thereafter, Webb invited White to move into his house.
Fifty-one-year-old Webb had worked as an on-air personality at KIRO-AM until he was fired after being convicted for filing a false insurance claim.
White's lawyers said the two men began to use drugs together. White told his lawyers that Webb repeatedly tried to force him into a sexual relationship. Lawry said White claimed he attacked Webb with an axe because he felt pressured into sex.
Judge Ramsdell argued there was no credible evidence to show that Webb supplied White 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."
After White murdered Webb sometime between April 13 and April 15, 2007, he hid the body in a basement crawlspace. He pawned items from the home for cash, took Webb's debit card, and posed as Webb by text-messaging his friends and family, saying that he was out of town. Police say White left the house and lived at Queen Anne Park.
The judge said he was struck by the steps White took after the murder, like making a to-do list to cover his tracks. He said the worst was White masquerading as Webb. Ramsdell said he found no credible evidence that Webb was abusing illegal or prescription drugs, but added that White's behavior after the murder, having consensual sexual relationships to get cash and drugs, "undermines the credibility of the defendant."
Ramsdell said Webb's killing was one of the most brutal murders he's seen in his 13 years as a Superior Court judge.
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