Crime

Second suspect pleads guilty in 2018 killing of Randle teen

Jonathon Adamson is led into Lewis County Superior Court for a June hearing.
Jonathon Adamson is led into Lewis County Superior Court for a June hearing. cneuenschwander@chronline.com

Jonathon Adamson, one of two suspects charged with the June 2018 homicide of 16-year-old Benjamin Eastman III, entered guilty pleas to five charges Wednesday in Lewis County Superior Court.

Adamson, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping in Eastman’s death, and pleaded guilty to an additional two counts of witness tampering dating to February.

Adamson’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled. A review hearing is set for July 25.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said Adamson will need to complete other terms of his plea agreement before that time, including providing a full and accurate account of Eastman’s death.

The plea agreement includes an agreed-upon sentence for Adamson of 510 months, or 42 and a half years, to life in prison.

Adamson’s brother Benito Marquez, 17, pleaded guilty on Feb. 22 to charges including first-degree murder and first-degree rape. He has not yet been sentenced. His plea agreement will allow him to withdraw his guilty pleas to all but the first-degree murder charge and be sentenced on that charge alone if he meets conditions set by the prosecutor’s office, including providing a statement and passing a polygraph test.

He agreed to a sentence of 413 months, or more than 34 years in prison.

The brothers were accused last summer of luring Eastman into the woods in East Lewis County and beating him to death. They allegedly left him in a shallow grave, then dug up his body and moved it.

While both brothers have agreed to the proposed sentencing numbers, Superior Court judges are not bound by those recommendations and can impose up to the maximum lawful sentence if they choose.

Adamson and Marquez’ mother, Kindra Adamson, and Emma Brown, a person identified in court documents as Adamson’s fiancé, both previously pleaded guilty to misleading authorities during the investigation into Eastman’s disappearance.

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