Court overturns Mount Vernon woman’s conviction for soliciting to kill ex husband

An appeals court has overturned a Mount Vernon woman’s conviction for soliciting to kill her former husband.

The Washington Court of Appeals on Monday overturned Vanessa Valdiglesias LaValle’s conviction. 

She had been found guilty in 2021 for trying to persuade her son to kill his father with rat poison. Valdiglesias LaValle was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the conviction, which will now be sent back to trial court.

Valdiglesias LaValle in 2020 told her then 10-year-old son that if he put rat poison in her ex-husband’s food, the boy’s dad would die, and she and the children could live together forever, according to a secretly recorded conversation mentioned in court documents.

The three Court of Appeals Division 1 judges ruled Valdiglesias LaValle’s desire to be with her two children forever doesn’t equate to a "thing of value" necessary to support a criminal solicitation conviction. In Washington, a person is guilty of criminal solicitation when the person "offers to give or gives money or other thing of value" with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime.

Valdiglesias LaValle’s son testified during her trial in Skagit County Superior Court that his mother never spoke of offering to give him something.

Valdiglesias LaValle’s attorney, Suzanne Lee Elliott of the Washington Appellate Project, said she was pleased with the judges’ opinion.

Valdiglesias LaValle’s father had suggested that his son secretly record the conversation using a phone hidden under a blanket, court documents said.