MOUNT VERNON A 36-year-old man who was in an open relationship with his wife admitted Wednesday to killing one of her sex partners, a former assistant track coach at Ferndale High School.
Kenneth McBride, formerly of Alger, was scheduled to go to trial on charges of first-degree premeditated murder at the end of the month for killing 38-year-old Jeremy Scully in April 2008. Instead, McBride accepted a plea agreement Wednesday during a brief hearing in Skagit County Superior Court.
McBride pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 27.
The trial was expected to last up to a month, and prosecutors had 70 witnesses lined up to testify.
The largely circumstantial case was one of the more complex that has come through Skagit County courts in recent years. It involved thousands of pages of computer data, including instant messages and other computer evidence, and evidence of McBride's cell phone use through area cell towers.
The case could have been complicated further had prosecutors asked McBride's wife to testify against him.
"Trials are crap shoots to some degree," Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich said after the hearing. "We're pleased that it's been resolved."
Under the agreement, attorneys on both sides will ask the judge to sentence McBride to the top of his range: 23 years, 4 months in prison.
If McBride had been convicted as charged, he could have faced more than 30 years in prison.
"Like in many cases, (victims' families) would like to see him get more time," Weyrich said. "You can never give a defendant enough time for loss of life."
Weyrich said Scully's family members supported the plea agreement.
McBride and his wife each openly had multiple sex partners. They met Scully on an adult website designed to connect people in the swinging lifestyle. But McBride grew jealous when he realized his wife was falling in love with Scully.
Jeremy Scully's age was corrected at 12:15 p.m. Aug. 5.