After pleading guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday, Danial Peters asked a judge to sentence him right away.
“Can’t you do it now?” Peters asked a Spokane County Superior Court judge. “I mean, is that my right?”
Judge James Murphy said he wouldn’t impose a sentence until the victim’s family could be present. At that, Peters, 22, rolled his eyes.
“It’s their right under (the law) to be present,” Murphy said.
Peters admitted to the Dec. 22 killing of Melissa Wageman, who he said had an expensive drug habit and used to buy pills and cocaine from him.
On the night of her death, the two met at the North Side tavern where Wageman worked and went to a house where Peters lived on East Glass. They celebrated Wageman’s 40th birthday by smoking crack cocaine and marijuana, Peters said.
In a jail interview last year, Peters said he didn’t remember killing Wageman, but woke up to find her bloody body nearby. A square metal pipe is believed to be the murder weapon, police said.
Homeowner Robert Katke, 65, said he let Peters live with him rent-free because he took care of Katke, who has AIDS. On Dec. 22, he said Peters woke him up yelling, “You’ve got to help me, I think I’ve killed her.”
Afraid Peters would hurt him if he didn’t, Katke helped his roommate load Wageman’s body into the back of his pickup. When Peters drove away, Katke reported his truck stolen.
He told police he was frightened of Peters, saying Peters once stripped him, tied him up with duct tape and beat him. He showed up in court Wednesday but declined comment. Before Peters’ arrest, Katke was arrested for selling methamphetamine to undercover police and having child pornography in his possession.
Peters insisted Katke had nothing to do with Wageman’s murder, although the older man originally lied to police when they asked him about her death.
Peters drove the body to a friend’s house in Stevens County and asked for help getting rid of it. Instead, the friend called sheriff’s deputies and handed the phone to Peters, who allegedly confessed to the killing.
When he is sentenced Feb. 23, Peters faces 12 to 17 years in prison under sentencing guidelines.
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