A Spokane woman implicated in the killing of a Clarkston woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday.
Amanda M.D. Jones, 31, was originally charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing Sarah Warden in June or July 2018. Jones pleaded guilty to the reduced charge as part of a deal that ensures the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office will recommend a 30-year-to-life term in prison in exchange for the plea.
Jones also agreed to testify against Cole Marcell, who allegedly orchestrated the slaying. A third co-defendant, Gabriel Mattingly, was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison in April. Mattingly initially denied being involved in Warden’s death. Mattingly’s plea deal also calls for him to testify should Marcell’s case proceed to a jury trial.
Warden’s body was found in an area where animal corpses had been disposed of near Winchester. Her body was discovered July 7 and could have been dumped there a month prior, according to an autopsy report. Each defendant had a different version of who was most responsible for Warden’s death. Jones had allegedly threatened Warden a few days prior to the murder over a debt Warden owed to Marcell.
Marcell coordinated with Mattingly and Jones to rob Warden of her $800 Social Security check. Mattingly had Warden meet Jones and Marcell in a Walmart parking lot before the three of them took her to cash the check. Warden was then driven out to the Waha area, where her throat was slit, she was stabbed and beaten to death, according to court records. Marcell later told investigators he, Mattingly and Jones each allegedly stabbed Warden so they would all be implicated in the killing.
In her plea, Jones admitted she stabbed Warden and contributed to her death.
When asked why she pleaded guilty, Jones said it was because she was present when Warden was stabbed to death and she “didn’t stop him.” Marcell has an arraignment hearing scheduled June 26.
A presentence investigation of Jones was ordered to be completed by Aug. 7 and then a sentencing hearing will be set.
Holm may be contacted at (208) 848-2275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomHolm4.