OLYMPIA – A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder, domestic violence, in the February strangulation death of his wife, also an Iraq War veteran and the mother of their 2-year-old daughter.
Sheldon Plummer, 28, calmly answered Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy’s question of how he wanted to plead with “guilty, your honor.”
Plummer had returned from his third deployment to Iraq in August, according to a Lewis-McChord spokesman. Plummer admitted to strangling his wife, Winter Plummer, after a dispute Feb. 19 at their apartment near Lacey, court papers state.
He told detectives that “he strangled his wife after she attacked him with a knife during an argument.”
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Detectives found Winter Plummer, 27, stuffed in a storage container in her husband’s garage the morning of April 23.
Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jodilyn Erikson-Muldrew has agreed to recommend that Plummer serve about 141/2 years in prison in return for his guilty plea. A judge is not bound by the sentencing agreement, however. Plummer’s sentencing is set for Aug. 20. He was represented by attorney James Dixon.
Thurston County sheriff’s detectives began investigating Winter Plummer’s disappearance April 18, after one of Sheldon Plummer’s friends, also an Army soldier, called the Sheriff’s Office to say Sheldon Plummer had called him and “wanted advice on how to dispose of a body,” court papers state.
When detectives spoke with Plummer, he said that about a month earlier, his wife had packed three suitcases and left after an argument.
But Thurston County sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy has said that Plummer’s timeline of when his wife left was inconsistent.
Detectives later found that Plummer had pawned his wife’s jewelry, Mealy has said. Detectives also thought it was suspicious that Winter Plummer’s car was still parked at the apartment complex at The Village at Nisqually Ridge Apartments. And they found it odd that she would abandon her daughter.
A prosecutor later said Plummer had disposed of some of his wife’s belongings to make it appear as though she had left. The prosecutor added that he even sent text messages from her cell phone to her family members in Arizona in an effort to make them believe she was alive.
After detectives initially interviewed Plummer, he removed his wife’s body from a local storage unit and placed it in his garage, court papers state. Soon thereafter, he admitted to killing his wife, Mealy has said.
Erikson-Muldrew said Winter Plummer’s family from Arizona will be at Sheldon Plummer’s Aug. 20 sentencing.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 firstname.lastname@example.org