Correction to This Article
The article incorrectly said that an Arlington County man pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of another man he met through a Craigslist ad. Willie Donaldson pleaded no contest to the charge in the killing of Matthew Hicks.

Guilty Plea, No Jail Time in Arlington, Va., Erotic Encounter Killing

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Arlington County man who killed another man he met through an erotic encounter advertisement on Craigslist pleaded guilty yesterday to manslaughter, but he will not serve any jail time.

Under a plea agreement, Willie Donaldson, 35, was sentenced in Arlington Circuit Court to a three-year suspended sentence and three years' probation.

Donaldson told police that he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Matthew Hicks, 32, of Loudoun County on Dec. 8 in Donaldson's home.

"It was not easy for either side to agree to the compromise, but it was the best resolution," said Donaldson's attorney, James G. Connell III.

According to defense filings in court, Hicks and a woman posted a Craigslist advertisement for someone to have sex with the woman while Hicks watched.

Donaldson answered the ad, writing: "Would love to play! . . . I have a great private house, Jacuzzi, bar, etc. and I would love to host," according to a court document.

The woman e-mailed back asking for $500, and Donaldson replied that he had "like a hundred single bills" he would give to her during an erotic game.

Hicks and the woman went to Donaldson's home later that night, and before any sex acts occurred, she passed out in the hot tub, according to a defense filing. Hicks started to beat Donaldson, "breaking his scapula and demanding money," the document says.

Hicks then threatened to kill Donaldson, which is when Donaldson got his gun and shot Hicks, according to defense filings.

At a previous court hearing, prosecutors played the 911 call Donaldson made after he shot Hicks. Donaldson said the person he killed with a 9mm handgun "attacked me and assaulted me and said he was going to kill me."

Donaldson was initially charged with second-degree murder, but an Arlington judge threw out the charge. A grand jury then indicted Donaldson on the same charge, but the count was reduced to manslaughter yesterday when he pleaded guilty.

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