FEBRUARY 24, 1997

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Two arrested in Bothell murder

Ex-wife hired killer

murder arrests by Jeff Switzer, senior staff reporter
When the ex-wife of the man murdered in Bothell on Feb. 4 offered an undercover police detective money to kill her accomplice, the police made their move, arresting the two Arizona residents early Feb. 24.
   Murder charges against the 43-year-old ex-wife and her 45-year-old accomplice were filed last week in Snohomish County Court and in Arizona for the stabbing death of Steven J. Ver Woert, who was found in his mobile home at the Lake Pleasant RV Park.
   A Bothell detective and Mesa, Arizona police made an early morning arrest on Feb. 23, taking the ex-wife from Scottsdale, Arizona. The next morning, Mesa detectives and their Special Response Team arrested the 45-year-old Phoenix man believed to be the killer. Both remain in custody in Arizona at the Maricopa County Jail pending extradition.
   Police say the ex-wife believed herself to be the sole beneficiary of Ver Woert's insurance policies. She explained to an undercover detective how she had planned the murder and agreed to pay the killer, a friend of hers, a specific dollar amount. Her offer to pay the undercover Bothell detective to kill her accomplice may lead to conspiracy to commit murder charges in Arizona.
   Ver Woert had previously lived in the Phoenix, Arizona, area and was married to the woman for slightly more than a year; they were divorced in June 1995. There were no children from the marriage.
   Since early on in the investigation, the Bothell Police detective had been in Arizona trying to learn more about the victim's background and to follow-up leads as they developed.
   Ver Woert's body was found by police after concerned co-workers traveled from Redmond to see why he failed to come to work and found blood just outside the front door.
   Charges were to be filed in Snohomish County Monday afternoon, and depending on the course the extradition proceedings take, the suspects could be in Washington State in three to four days or three to four weeks.
   "This was excellent detective work, both on the part of the detective down there and those assigned to the investigative team," said Bothell Police Capt. Bob Woolverton. "They've been working around the clock with no days off since this investigation began. It's encouraging at this point that they can focus their attention in one direction."
   Woolverton said before these latest developments, detectives were following a myriad of leads in every possible direction, including tracking airline tickets, motels, gas records, and industrial espionage.