Seattle's Would-Be Craigslist Killer More Like German Cannibal Than Boston Suspect?

You've probably heard that Seattle's would-be Craigslist killer, Shawn T. Skelton, was arrested yesterday after posting an ad looking for a woman with whom he could have sex and whom he could subsequently kill. A Craigslist employee tipped off the cops, who corresponded with him, posing as an interested party.

One interesting twist--the detective asked Skelton whether he'd be willing to kill someone else for money. Skelton said that he'd been looking for a consenting victim, but agreed to kill an unsuspecting one when they offered him money. They arrested him when he showed up to the agreed-upon motel. It seems strange that they decided to switch the murder to a third party, as there doesn't appear to be any consent defense to murder in Washington state (or anywhere, to my knowledge).

But it does bring to mind the case of Arwin Meiwes, the German man who posted an ad looking for a willing victim for his cannibalist desires and succeeded. (It's pretty gruesome stuff, if you'll recall: they dined on the guy's cooked genitals before Meiwes finished him off.) German prosecutors had quite a bit of difficulty with his case because his victim voluntarily entered the arrangement. (By contrast, there was no mention of murder in the correspondence leading up to the Boston Craigslist slayings.) Perhaps the SPD figured better safe than sorry here.

SPD spokesperson Detective Mark Jamieson suggested consulting the certification for probable cause and the prosecutor's office for more details on whether the switch to a third party would affect prosecutorial decisions. The prosecutor's provided the document and said it would have more to say on the case after it makes its charging decisions, which should come in the next day or two. Update: Prosecutors have charged Skelton with conspiracy to commit murder.

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