Eventually, one of his lawyers asked him directly: Did you kill Anastasia King?
"No," he emphatically told jurors yesterday during his murder trial in Snohomish County Superior Court. "I did not kill my wife."
He also denied helping his tenant, Daniel Larson — who has already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for her 2000 slaying — kill her. He said he's never been to the Tulalip Indian Reservation, where Anastasia's body was found. In the monthlong trial, yesterday marked the first time jurors heard at length from King aside from a taped statement he made to police that was played in court.
King, 40, testified that after he and his wife returned to their Mountlake Terrace home from a trip to her homeland, Kyrgyzstan, on Sept. 22, 2000 — the last day she was seen alive — she asked him to go buy her snacks and other items, promising a romantic night if he did.
When he returned 1 ½ hours half later, he said, she was gone. He said he thought she had left him, based on what Larson told him.
Prosecutors contend the two men killed Anastasia King, Larson strangling her with a necktie while the nearly 300-pound King restrained her. They say King orchestrated the killing because he wanted a new mail-order bride and didn't want to lose money through a costly divorce.
It was unclear until yesterday whether King, who is charged with first-degree murder, would take the stand.
He hasn't proved to be the most sympathetic of defendants during the trial. He mimicked a gun with his fingers and pointed it at a witness who was recently testifying. He also admitted to calling Larson an obscene name in the courthouse.
Yesterday, King looked uncomfortable on the stand, fidgeting with his glasses and tie and squinting while he was questioned.
On cross-examination, Deputy Prosecutor Coleen St. Clair grilled him about various lies or half-truths he's admitted to telling. He at first told police, for instance, that he last saw his wife in Moscow, after they had fought. He kept telling that story, he said, largely because he thought she'd left him and he was humiliated.
King was asked about an earlier trip they took to Kyrgyzstan, when he took his wife's passport and green card and left her stranded. He testified he did that on the spur of the moment after fighting with her, but admitted he had thought he might leave her there and had an alternative itinerary planned for his return in case he did.
He said he thought that his wife was doing some type of escort work and that it caused some of the strife in their marriage. He said his wife eventually would allow him to see her only for 15 minutes a day. But those 15 minutes, he said, were the best of his day.
His testimony is expected to continue today.
Janet Burkitt can be reached at 206-515-5689 or email@example.com.