Roth Joins Younger Brother David As A Convicted Killer

If convicted wife-killer Randy Roth is sent to the state penitentiary in Walla Walla, there will be at least one familiar face there - his younger brother, David Roth, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of a woman in 1977.

Although David Roth's case received less attention than his brother's, it does include a mystery that lingers today. Authorities still don't know the name of his victim.

David Roth, now 34, was living with his mother in Lynnwood when the murder occurred. While Randy Roth was convicted of killing for money, the motive in the murder by David Roth is obscure.

According to court documents, and medical examiner's records, this is what happened:

On Saturday, Aug. 13, 1977, David Roth, then 20, was driving his 1963 Chevrolet sedan through Gold Bar when police stopped him on a traffic violation.

While checking out Roth's car, officer Fred Vanderpool found a .22-caliber Marlin rifle and a clip with 59 rounds. Roth was arrested on a weapons charge.

The next day, a couple picking berries in Everett came across the body of a woman in a wooded area near Mariner High School.

The woman was fully clothed, lying face down, with her arms at her sides. She had been strangled and shot in the head seven times. Two empty beer cans were found nearby.

At the time, police did not suspect Roth. He was released Aug. 15 and went to a friend's house, where he talked of the murder.

On Aug. 19, Roth's friend went to the Snohomish County sheriff's office and related what Roth had told him.

Roth, according to the friend, was driving near The Boeing Co.'s Everett plant when he picked up a woman who was hitchhiking. They stopped to buy some beer, then drove to the woods near Mariner High to drink.

Eventually, Roth attempted to rape the woman. When she resisted, he strangled her with an elastic cord, walked to his trunk, got his rifle and shot her in the head repeatedly.

On Aug. 22, the sheriff planned to arrest Roth in district court, where he was supposed to appear for a pre-sentencing interview on an earlier charge of marijuana possession. Roth never showed up.

He was a fugitive for more than a year. He was arrested in Port Orchard, Kitsap County, on Jan. 18, 1979.

On a ferry ride to Seattle, he confessed to a Snohomish County detective. He later changed his plea to not guilty, but was convicted of first-degree murder in November 1979.

Key evidence included the fact that the bullets found in Roth's car when he was stopped in Gold Bar matched slugs found in the woman's body. Tests also showed the slugs were fired from his rifle.

David Roth was sentenced to life in prison. He is eligible for release in March 1997.

Snohomish County authorities never learned the identity of the murdered woman, who was in her late 20s to early 30s.

She is buried as "Jane Doe" in a pauper's lot at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Everett.