A member of the Swinomish Tribe pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to second-degree murder for smothering his common-law wife with a pillow earlier this year.
Kevin S. O’Leary, 55, admitted that on June 7 he killed Valerie Jefferson, a Lummi tribal member, wrapped her body in a blanket and hid it under the bed before it was discovered five days later, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The couple had been arguing about an affair O’Leary had been involved in more than a decade earlier.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors will recommend a sentence of no more than 15 years in prison when O’Leary is sentenced on March 8. The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison.
Federal authorities had jurisdiction over the case because O’Leary and Jefferson are tribal members and the murder occurred on Lummi tribal trust land, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
NOTE: Earlier, the U.S. Attorney’s Office had erroneously indicated O’Leary is a member of the Lummi Tribe. We’ve corrected the post.