On December 29, 1981, police found the body of William Edmondson in a remote, wooded area of Kitsap County. Edmondson had been shot four times in the head, his chest had been crushed, and his nose broken. Drag marks led directly from his body to sets of boot prints and tire tracks.
Edmondson married Rosalina Manthie, an immigrant from the Philippines, on August 21, 1981. The day after the wedding, the Edmondsons drove from Washington to Montana, where Ms. Edmondson visited her former husband, Richard Manthie, an inmate of the Montana State Prison.
In September 1981, the Edmondsons bought $150,000 life insurance policies on each other’s lives. Her policy’s sole beneficiary was her daughter by Manthie; Edmondson’s policy named his wife and the same daughter as beneficiaries. The Edmondsons then bought a house for $60,000 near Lake Symington; Ms. Edmondson already owned a house at Long Lake, but did not allow her husband to use it. The Edmondsons bought mortgage insurance for the Lake Symington house; the policy provided that if either of them died before repaying the mortgage, the insurance company would pay the mortgage balance.
Between August and December of 1981, Ms. Edmondson visited Manthie at the Montana State Prison several times. She actively supported his attempts to get parole, representing herself to parole authorities as his present wife. Manthie finally got parole on December 17, 1981, and immediately flew to Seattle. Ms. Edmondson paid for his airline ticket and met him at the airport. She and Manthie spent the night at a hotel and then went to her Long Lake house for the weekend.
Edmondson was seen the evening of December 21, 1981, driving from the Lake Symington house with Ms. Edmondson in his red Gremlin. Early the next morning, Ms. Edmondson was seen at the Long Lake house washing the Gremlin’s interior. Her Long Lake neighbors noticed smoke issuing from the chimney of the house; they later testified that the smoke was too black to be woodsmoke. Ms. Edmondson asked to use her neighbors’ washing machine, something she had never done before.
When police found Edmondson’s body 8 days later, they summoned Ms. Edmondson to the police station for questioning. She denied involvement in her husband’s death and gave permission for officers to search her Long Lake house and the Gremlin. The next day she drove to Seattle to visit her lawyer. She instructed him to file claims on her husband’s insurance policies.
Searching the Long Lake house, detective found Manthie’s boots, which matched the prints at the place where Edmondson’s body was found. They also found bits of glass, of a rare type, near a smashed door, and drops of blood on the floor of the Long Lake house. They found evidence that clothing had been burned both in the fireplace and outdoors. In the Gremlin, they found glass particles matching those found in the house, blood flakes of Edmondson’s rare blood type, and hairs that were similar to Manthie’s.
Manthie was arrested and charged with murdering Edmondson. Ms. Edmondson unsuccessfully tried to obtain his release on bail. While awaiting trial, Manthie became friendly with Jesse Noble, a cellmate. He told Noble that he and Ms. Edmondson had agreed to kill Edmondson in order to collect on the insurance policies. Manthie related that he had shot Edmondson while in the Gremlin and that Ms. Edmondson had helped him dispose of the body and destroy evidence of the murder. Manthie also related part of the story to Fred Stocker, another cellmate.
Ms. Edmondson was charged with Edmondson’s murder in June 1982. She was represented at trial by two lawyers, one of whom is fluent in Tagalog, her native language. In addition, she was permitted to use an interpreter when she took the stand for cross examination.
In exchange for a favorable plea agreement on unrelated criminal charges, Noble testified against Ms. Edmondson, repeating what Manthie told him about the murder. Manthie did not testify. The parties stipulated that he would claim his privilege against self-incrimination and thus was unavailable as a witness. After 3 weeks of trial, the jury convicted Ms. Edmondson of aggravated murder in the first degree.
Bodies of Evidence
Happily Never After: Crushed by Love
Rosalina Edmondson – convicted, sentenced to LWOP
Richard Manthie – convicted, sentenced to LWOP
DOC Number: 289405
Offender Name: EDMONDSON, ROSALINA M
Location: Washington Corrections Center for Women
9601 Bujacich Rd. NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98332-8300
DOC Number: 281010
Offender Name: MANTHIE, RICHARD W
Location: Stafford Creek Corrections Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520
Filed under: crime, Deadly Wives, Domestic Violence, murder, murder in the 20th Century Tagged: | 1983, beaten to death, homicide, LWOP, murder for money, Richard Manthie, Rosalina, shooting, spousal murder, Washington, William Edmondson