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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man found dead in motor home had sexual relationship with killer, prosecutors say in trial opening

The Spokane County Courthouse is pictured.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Prosecutors say a man killed in his motor home in April 2021 was paying for sex with the man now on trial for his alleged murder.

Zane McDonald, 29, is charged with murdering Anthony Plumb, who was 58 when he was found dead in his motor home April 23.

In opening statements to jurors Tuesday morning, prosecuting attorneys said they intend to discuss forensic evidence during the trial, including McDonald’s fingerprints that were discovered on a safe in Plumb’s motor home, Stanley said. Law enforcement and friends and acquaintances of the two men will also testify during the trial, she said.

“In exchange for sex, Mr. Plumb would provide Mr. McDonald with money and occasionally a place to live,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brytney Stanley said to jurors. “He kept this a secret.”

Plumb was described as a man with a “good heart” who would “do just about anything for anybody,” his brother Chester Malito said in testimony Tuesday. Malito described his brother as bisexual.

“He struggled with it,” he said.

The brothers had plans to purchase a gold mine with some money they had been saving. Plumb had recently quit working and had several thousand dollars in a safe inside his motor home. That money was stolen by McDonald, Stanley said.

Malito was the first to discover Plumb in his motor home, located on the 900 block of North Felts Road, after his phone calls went uncharacteristically unanswered, Malito testified. Plumb’s motor home was a mess, which was also uncharacteristic of the man Malito referred to as a “neat freak.”

Malito discovered his brother’s body lying in an upright position in a pool of dried blood. Crime scene photographs presented to the jury showed a laceration on Plumb’s throat.

According to court documents, a friend of McDonald’s had dropped him off at the address on the night of April 20. McDonald was arrested on suspicion of murder when he was discovered sleeping in a stolen vehicle several weeks later.

McDonald’s attorneys did not make an opening argument to jurors on Tuesday. However, the attorneys questioned asked whether the blood in the motor home could have been from a gastrointestinal bleed, as some first responders had initially suggested. The attorneys also questioned Malito about Plumb’s estranged son – known only as David – who Malito said no one in the family knew.

McDonald’s defense asked Malito about his brother’s drinking habits and his characteristics while drinking alcohol. Malito said his brother worked six days a week his whole life and enjoyed alcohol to relax, and he could be “boisterous” and “loud” at times.

McDonald’s trial is expected to continue through next week.