Former Bothell Coucilman Charged With Murder

Former Bothell City Council member James G. McNeal has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with a homicide investigation in Seattle’s Brighton neighborhood. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced the charges on Friday. McNeal served as a council member in Bothell for nearly a decade before losing his reelection bid last November.

He was endorsed by The Seattle Times during his campaign in 2015 and won the seat. However, in the 2023 election, he was defeated by Mason Thompson, receiving 37.9% of the votes compared to Thompson’s 61.8%.

The incident occurred on Tuesday when Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers responded to a call and discovered the lifeless body of a 20-year-old woman inside a home on South Orchard Street. The woman was found lying face up in a bed, unclothed but covered with bedding. There were no other individuals present at the scene. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation.

McNeal, a 58-year-old man, was arrested for the homicide and taken into custody. He was later treated for self-inflicted injuries by the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) before being transported to Harborview Medical Center. Currently, he is reported to be in stable condition.

Court documents revealed that McNeal’s lawyer made the 911 call, leading to his arrest. When officers arrived, they observed fresh and dried blood on McNeal’s clothing. Photographs of the woman and McNeal were discovered in the residence, along with several handwritten lists believed to be written by the deceased.

This isn’t the first time McNeal has faced legal troubles. In 2015, during his campaign for Bothell City Council, a Bothell Reporter investigation revealed that he had previously pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of evading police when he was 19 years old. He has also had issues with unpaid taxes related to a business he owned, as reported by the investigation. The investigation into the homicide is ongoing, and McNeal remains in custody at the King County Jail.

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