A 42-year-old man who strangled a Belltown woman in December 2010 was sentenced this morning to 21 years in prison.
A King County jury deliberated for a day and a half last month befofre finding Gary Wade guilty of second-degree murder for killing Michelle Thornton, 43.
King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor John Castleton pushed for the high-end sentence of 21 years. The defense had requested a nearly 13-year sentence.
Footage from surveillance cameras in Thornton’s building, fingerprints and DNA evidence led police to Wade, a felon from Utah who allegedly was selling crack cocaine to Thornton, according to charges.
Thornton, who worked at a Queen Anne Safeway store, was last seen alive on Dec. 30, 2010. Her body was discovered a week later.
Thornton’s purse, wallet and identification were found hidden in her apartment; the door key and her phone were the only items missing, police said.
Two fingerprints left on Thornton’s glass-top coffee table were matched to Wade, according to police. DNA swabs and biological samples from Thornton’s body were sent to the State Patrol Crime Lab, where officials confirmed that the DNA profile from the samples matched Wade’s DNA profile, police said.