Murder ad posted on Craigslist

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by By OWEN LEI ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News and KING5.com

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 28 at 10:26 AM

Video: Police sting catches suspected murderer-for-hire on Craigslist

SEATTLE - Police say a Kent man posted a Craigslist ad wanting to have sex with a woman and then kill her.

The ad, titled "A strange desire," was posted in the casual encounters section. It asked for "serious iquiries (sic) only please."

An undercover vice detective responded to the ad. Police say 24-year-old Shawn Skelton indicated that he posted the ad looking for someone who wanted to be killed, but that he was also willing to kill an unsuspecting person. He also suggested he be paid for doing it.

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Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson says it went way beyond fantasy.

"The suspect had ample opportunity to shut down negotiations at any time and not follow through," said Jamieson.

After several days and 30 e-mails, police say Skelton and the detective agreed to meet at a Seattle motel, but only after doubling his price for the murder to $2,000. Police say Skelton described what sexual acts he wanted to perform with her and alluded to how he would kill her.

On Monday morning, the detective and Skelton finalized the would-be murder. Detectives staked out the Aero Motel on East Marginal Way in Seattle, with permission of the owner, and arrested the suspect after he knocked on the door to the room.

Police found a length of heavy chain and a knife on Skelton, consistent with how he wanted to commit the murder.

Ex-girlfriend speaks out

The suspect's ex-girlfriend says Shawn Skelton is caring father trying to provide for his family.

"Shawn would never ever hurt someone. Never," she said.

The Kent woman, who asked not to be identified, says Skelton is the father of her 7-month-old daughter.

"He's always been very affectionate and very understanding. He's always been a rock in my life for a very long time," she said.

She says Skelton had an abusive childhood, and as deranged as crime is, she says his motive was providing for her and his daughter. "He would do anything to get us out of where we are now and to provide for us. He's been looking for a job for the last 6 months," she said.

Skelton is booked in the King County Jail on Investigation of Attempted Murder. He has been convicted before of indecent exposure. At a bond hearing Tuesday, prosecutors argued the Craigslist posting marked a progression in his criminal behavior.

"During his statement to detectives, Skelton stated that this activity excited him and admitted that he needed counseling and could not control his urges," said Jeanne Payne, King County Deputy Prosecutor.

The judge set Skelton's bond at $1 million and specifically denied him access to the internet or e-mail.

Police say Skelton also provided a taped confession. Charges are expected on Wednesday.

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