Kent man in Craigslist sex-murder ad enters plea in court

A 24-year-old Kent man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder after he reportedly placed an ad on Craigslist to meet a woman for sex and then kill her.

Shawn Tyler Skelton remained Wednesday at the county jail in Seattle in lieu of $1 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court for a case hearing on May 27. If convicted as charged, he faces a sentencing range of seven years, eight months to 13 years, nine months.

Seattle Police arrested Skelton April 27 after he knocked on the door of a room at a Seattle motel, where he earlier had agreed to meet a woman (an undercover detective) for sex and then to kill her, according to charging papers. Skelton had a length of heavy chain, a knife and two long shoelaces in his possession.

An employee at Craigslist sent an e-mail to Seattle Police April 22 about a suspicious advertisement, entitled “A Strange Desire,” posted on the Casual Encounters section of the Seattle-Tacoma online bulletin board, according to court documents.

An undercover detective responded to the ad. That started an exchange of 30-plus e-mails over the next several days, said Seattle Police spokesman Mark Jamieson. Skelton and the undercover detective then set up a time, date and location to meet.

Skelton also wrote during an exchange of e-mails that he wanted to be paid for carrying out the plan to kill the woman, according to court documents. He wrote he placed the ad to look for someone who wanted to be killed, but that he was willing to kill an unwitting participant.

Police said they decided to initiate contact with the Kent man because of several recent incidents nationwide that involved online advertising sites and to evaluate any potential threat to the community, according to a police media release.

Skelton lives in Kent with his girlfriend’s great-grandmother, according to court documents.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Kent Police arrest man, 18, in fatal shooting of 13-year-old boy

Judge finds probable cause to hold the Kent man for murder, attempted murder and robbery

The Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center in Seattle that handles juvenile detention. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
High-profile juvenile crimes continue to rock Kent this summer

Six incidents in five weeks include fatal shooting, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault

King County Correctional Facility in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
Kent man charged with attempted kidnapping of 6-year-old girl

40-year-old man allegedly try to take girl from apartment complex parking lot

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Kent man receives 8-year sentence in 2021 fatal shooting

Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of manslaughter in shooting at apartment complex over parking dispute

Courtesy Photo, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Judge finds probable cause to hold Kent man for kidnapping girl

Man, 40, reportedly grabbed 6-year-old girl in East Hill apartment complex parking lot

King County residential property values rise 12.4% in SE Kent

King County Assessor John Wilson begins to release 2024 numbers

Three 11-year-old girls in Kent help stop kidnapping of 6-year-old girl

40-year-old man reportedly grabbed girl in apartment complex parking lot on East Hill

Kent Police seek male teen driver in fatal hit-and-run on East Hill | Update

Teen reportedly driving stolen vehicle and fleeing police during Saturday, July 13 incident; victim identified

13-year-old boy fatally shot in Kent on East Hill near Turnkey Park | Update

Boy found shot near apartment complex Tuesday night, July 16 identified by medical examiner

Kent School Board votes 3-1 to send levy to voters in November

Capital projects and technology levy reduced from $192 million to $97 million after previous failures

Kiwanis clubs to place painted rocks at downtown Kent parks

Purpose is to ‘spread joy and positivity’