Ex-Bothell City Council member charged with South Seattle homicide

May 1, 2024, 1:51 PM | Updated: May 3, 2024, 5:37 pm

Photo: Former Bothell city council member James McNeal has been arrested on investigation of homici...

Former Bothell city council member James McNeal has been arrested on investigation of homicide. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

UDPATE: 5/3/2024 at 5:23 p.m.:

On Friday, McNeal was charged with murder in the second degree, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.


Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers are investigating a homicide in the city’s Brighton neighborhood.

Shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday, police officers responded to a call and located a dead 20-year-old woman inside a home in the 4600 block of South Orchard Street near South Beacon Hill.

Court documents state she was lying face up in a bed, fully nude, but covered by bedding. No one else was found inside the home.

According to KIRO 7, the woman had allegedly died by strangulation.

“It’s just really awful. She was really sweet,” a neighbor, who described the woman as a friend, told KIRO 7.

More Washington crime: Son of former Seattle Mayor McGinn pleads not guilty to child pornography charges

A 58-year-old man was arrested for homicide and booked into King County Jail. Additionally, he was treated for injuries by the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) and transported to Harborview Medical Center. He is in stable condition, as of this reporting.

The man is former Bothell City Council member James G. McNeal, who was in office for nearly a decade before losing his reelection bid last November.

According to court documents, McNeal’s lawyer made the 911 call. When officers arrived, they arrested McNeal outside the home and saw that he had both fresh and dried blood on his clothes.

Court documents state photos of the woman and McNeal were found in the home, as well as several handwritten lists believed to be written by the woman.

One read, “Do not interact w/James today.” Another read, “Trying to do the least with the most, him being 58 … and he doesn’t want to help me financially… also he turns everything on you can’t take ownership for anything.”

Another note with similar handwriting said, “Make sure you do not forget how you felt. The anger, hurt, neglect from James knowing you are struggling does not care dismissing any attempts to ask for help. Demanding sex, demanding access to everything. Ex. Key to home.”

Another note read, “is mentally, emotionally abuse, no empathy …”

Court documents reported the former council member was treated for self-inflicted cuts to his wrists and was taken to Harborview Medical Center.

More on ex-Bothell City Council member James McNeal

When McNeal was running for Bothell City Council in 2015, a Bothell Reporter investigation found McNeal pled guilty to a felony for eluding police when he was 19 years old. He’s also had “extensive issues” with the IRS from unpaid taxes related to a business he owned, according to the investigation.

He was endorsed by The Seattle Times for the city council seat in 2015 and won the seat. He served in Bothell’s Position 2 chair for eight years before losing to Mason Thompson in 2023. McNeal grabbed 3,378 votes (37.9%), while Mason Thompson received 5,500 votes (61.8%).

In the 2023 Snohomish County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet, McNeal stated he had been a construction manager for 25 years and a coach and program director for 10, specifically calling out time spent coaching football, lacrosse, baseball and basketball. He also stated he is a graduate of Juanita High School in Kirkland (A PDF of the pamphlet can be viewed here.)

“We have had many successes during my tenure, including preserving open spaces (Wayne, and North Creek Forest), increasing police and fire staffing, building two needed fire stations, invested in our roads and sidewalks, saved the Senior Center from closure, built youth sports facilities, just to name a few,” McNeal’s statement read.

More from Bothell: Family says teen can ‘rest in peace’ after Bothell man convicted of 1993 murder

If anyone has information, please call the SPD Violent Crime Tip Line at (206) 233-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Contributing: Julia Dallas, Frank Sumrall and Steve Coogan, MyNorthwest

You can read more of Kate Stone’s stories here. Follow Kate on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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