Randy Roth Loses Initial Appeal

SEATTLE - Randy Roth, convicted of drowning his fourth wife in Lake Sammamish to collect on a $385,000 insurance policy, lost his initial appeal but will continue to fight his conviction and sentence, his lawyer says.

The state Court of Appeals upheld Roth's first-degree murder conviction and 50-year sentence in a ruling released yesterday.

Roth's wife of less than a year, Cynthia Baumgartner Roth, 34, drowned in Lake Sammamish July 23, 1991. Roth claimed their raft was tipped over by the wake of a passing speed boat and she drowned before he could save her.

Roth's 1992 King County Superior Court trial included evidence about his second wife's fatal plunge off a Skamania County cliff in 1981. The day after her death, Roth called his insurance agent at home to put in a claim.

The jury also heard from Roth's third wife, who said she felt he tried to sink a raft they were taking down a river, and from another woman who testified he was planning to marry her until he found out she was uninsurable.

The appeals court found that the 1981 death and Roth's history of cheating insurance companies were relevant to the 1992 murder case because they showed a pattern, including death after obtaining large insurance policies.