In a plea agreement brokered by his defense attorneys, 31 year old Christopher Scott Wilson pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree manslaughter in the February 2010 death of Mackenzie Cowell. Wilson had been charged with first-degree murder, and jury selection was under way in his trial. Wilson's attorney, John Henry Browne explains why he encouraged his client to accept the plea deal.
Chelan County Prosecutor Gary Riesen says Wilson's defense team brought him the plea deal, and while the jail time is about half of what Wilson would have faced if convicted of first degree murder, it was a good compromise.
In addition to pleading guilty to first degree manslaughter, Wilson also pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery in connection with Cowell's death, as well as second-degree assault on another woman. Riesen explains why it was important for that charge to be included in the plea.
Cowell was a 17-year-old high school senior who told her beauty school classmates she would be gone for 15 minutes just before she walked to her car and drove off. Police found her body four days later. She had been struck in the head, strangled and stabbed to death.