August 10, 1996 in City

Murderer Given Maximum Term Of 30 Years

By The Spokesman-Review

Willie J. Richardson’s role in the murder of a Spokane woman earned him a 30-year prison sentence Friday.

A Spokane Superior Court jury last month convicted Richardson, 20, of first-degree murder in the death of Koralee Dixon, 23.

The same jury also convicted Richardson’s former girlfriend, Marcella Taylor, of first-degree murder for her part in the killing of Dixon in June 1995.

Taylor will be sentenced in September.

Prosecutors argued that Taylor hatched a robbery plan that involved killing Dixon last June for about $1,000 and some jewelry.

Her body was found about two weeks after the murder in Red Lake near Tum Tum.

At the trial, Richardson and Taylor blamed each other for Dixon’s killing.

The two had learned that Dixon - who was Taylor’s roommate - returned from a Reno trip with about $1,000 cash and a diamond ring.

They both testified they planned to rob Dixon of the money. Taylor said Richardson forced a cloth bandanna into the victim’s mouth. She also said he applied the duct tape over Dixon’s mouth that caused her death by suffocation.

Richardson testified he helped tape Dixon’s hands and legs but didn’t cover her mouth with the tape.

Taylor insisted at the trial that Richardson was a willing accomplice and that she is not strong enough to hold a victim captive and dump her body in a lake alone.

At Friday’s sentencing, Judge Robert Austin agreed with prosecutors who argued that Richardson’s lengthy juvenile criminal record, and the violence involved in the case, justified the maximum penalty possible.

He’s been convicted 11 times and arrested more than 40 times, court records show.

Deputy Prosecutor Danette Allen said she’ll also seek a 30-year sentence for Taylor for her role in the murder. Because she has fewer past convictions, Taylor would get a 30-year sentence only for serious and “aggravating” circumstances.

“I’m confident I can make that argument. It (the murder plan) was Taylor’s idea from the start,” said Allen.

Before Richardson was sentenced, he turned toward Dixon’s relatives in the courtroom and apologized for his role in her death.

, DataTimes

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email