Mail-order bride's last moments: Alleged murder cohort testifies

E-mail E-mail this article
Print Print this article

For the first time, jurors in Indle King Jr.'s murder trial yesterday heard a firsthand account of the 2000 slaying of King's young mail-order bride from Daniel K. Larson, who claims he strangled her with a necktie under orders from King.

During a full day on the witness stand in Snohomish County Superior Court, Larson described King, 40, luring Anastasia King into the garage of his Mountlake Terrace home, asking her to kiss him, then restraining her in a bearhug so Larson could put the tie around her neck.

Larson, a former tenant in the house, recalled driving with King in afternoon stop-and-go traffic to the Tulalip Reservation with Anastasia's body in the back seat and a State Patrol car alongside them most of the way. He told of King taking off his wife's clothes and cutting off her blond ponytail before the two men left her face down in a grave they dug at an illegal dump.

As Larson gave his account, jurors scribbled in notebooks and darted glances at King. In the back of the courtroom, a translator conveyed Larson's testimony to Anastasia King's parents, who were flown here from their homeland, Kyrgyzstan, by prosecutors. As she listened to the whispered translations, Anastasia's mother quietly wept.

At one point, Larson said, Anastasia told her husband that she knew he was planning to kill her and had told someone. Larson testified that the nearly 300-pound King, who was pinning his wife to the ground, instructed Larson to stop momentarily and asked Anastasia how she knew. She said she found paper where he had written about it, Larson said.

According to Larson, King responded, "I'm not stupid enough to write my thoughts on paper," and instructed Larson to keep strangling her.

Prosecutors say King wanted Anastasia dead because he wanted a new mail-order bride and didn't want to lose money in a divorce.

She was last seen alive Sept. 22, when she and Indle King returned from a trip to Kyrgyzstan. King told investigators that he came back alone after fighting with Anastasia in Moscow, but police detectives later confirmed that the couple cleared U.S. Customs within a minute of each other.

King, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, denies any involvement in her death. His lawyers argue Larson killed her by himself and is now saying on the witness stand what he thinks prosecutors want to hear.

Larson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in October in exchange for his testimony. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, he will not be sentenced until after King's trial.

A convicted sex offender with a lengthy criminal history, Larson has changed his account of Anastasia's killing numerous times — at first denying any involvement and later saying he helped King because he feared King would kill him if he didn't.

And in an April 17 letter to another inmate, Larson was unequivocal in his claim that he acted alone.

"You already know what happened, but just in case you forgot: I executed Anastasia King because God told me that she was an adulterous (sic)," he wrote to another jail inmate. "... God gave me some unbelievable strength, so that I could do this all by myself."

When Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Jim Townsend questioned him about the letter, Larson said the inmate he sent the letter to forced him to write it and that it was not a truthful account.

Defense attorneys, who are expected to question Larson today, have argued that the account Larson gives in the letter is plausible.

Janet Burkitt can be reached at 206- 515-5689 or