Thurston County man convicted of animal cruelty gets suspended sentence for alleged Pierce County sex crimes


A Thurston County man accused of torturing and killing animals he bought online has been sentenced in another case in Pierce County, related to accusations he sexually assaulted minors.

The result is that he won’t serve more time behind bars, if he avoids further trouble with the law.

As part of plea negotiations, David Christopher Williford, 28, pleaded guilty Nov. 10 to four counts of fourth-degree assault, reduced from initial charges of child molestation and rape.

Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener sentenced Willford to two years suspended, which means he won’t serve the time if he maintains law-abiding behavior. As part of that deal he also must seek a psychosexual evaluation and follow-up treatment.

Deputy prosecutor Robert Yu said the state would have had evidence trouble had Williford gone to trial on the initial charges.

“From our perspective it was not an ideal outcome,” Yu said via email. “However, further investigation into the case including witness/victim interviews created significant proof issues for us if we proceeded to trial.”

According to charging papers, an acquaintance reported last year that Williford had raped two women when they were minors. Police interviewed the victims, who said Williford had sexually assaulted them over a period of years, started when they were about 5 and 8.

At the time of that investigation, Williford was in custody for the Thurston County animal abuse charges.

In that case, Williford pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree animal abuse last year as part of a plea deal, and was given a one-year suspended sentence.

Prosecutors said Williford had in his home dead guinea pig and rabbit carcasses, including some that had severed heads. In addition, a few animals were found alive in small cages and in unsanitary conditions.