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December 29, 1997

Local News

Arizona man guilty of murdering Bothell resident

  EVERETT--A bizarre trial involving three murder-for-hire plots, one stabbing death, a "corrupt" Bothell police officer, an Arizona construction worker and an ex-wife out for insurance money came to an end in Snohomish County Superior Court on Christmas Eve. Jurors found Phoenix-resident Jonathan Curtis, 45, guilty of aggravated first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Steven Ver Woert as part of a scam by Ver Woert's former spouse Marty Malone to swindle $150,000 in insurance money. Curtis faces mandatory life in prison without parole when he's sentenced January 21. Malone, 44, has already pled guilty to first-degree murder. She faces a 23-year sentence. It was a case and trial marked by criminals turning against one another.
   It began last winter when Curtis was promised $10,000 by Malone, a Scottsdale, Arizona resident, to kill Ver Woert who lived at the Lake Pleasant RV Park along the Bothell-Everett Highway. Curtis' lawyer had contended that Curtis was merely hired to drive Malone from Arizona to Bothell and that Malone killed Ver Woert while Curtis slept in the vehicle. But Malone testified that she waited while Curtis killed Ver Woert.Ver Woert's body was discovered February 5. He was a well-liked communications worker at Sprint in Redmond.
   Curtis was linked to the area because he won $60 at pull tabs at the Bigfoot Tavern, less than a half-mile from Lake Pleasant. To collect the money, he signed for the winnings. After Ver Woert was killed, the pair then conspired to kill one another. Malone offered a Bothell Police officer Curtis' cut plus $50,000 if the officer would kill Curtis. The officer was pretending to be dissatisfied with the rainy Northwest but really investigating the case. Malone admitted to him her part in the murder. While in jail Curtis attempted to hire a fellow inmate to kill Malone in jail to keep her from testifying against him.