Man who killed two people in Tacoma house won’t face death penalty

A man charged with the state’s highest crime for allegedly killing two people in a Tacoma house — one with an ax and the other by strangulation — won’t face a possible death sentence if convicted.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist announced Friday he would seek a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Aaron Livingston.

“In Washington state, the death penalty is reserved for the most heinous crimes and the worst of the worst defendants,” Lindquist said in a news release. “After we spoke with the families of the victims, as well as the surviving victim, and taking into account the facts and current law, I decided to seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.”

Livingston, 39, was arrested and charged in May with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. He’s pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors contend he entered a rented house on South 19th Street in the Hilltop neighborhood on May 23 and attacked Andrew Geissler with an ax, killing the 25-year-old man. Livingston suspected his girlfriend, 40-year-old Julia Wheeler, was having an affair with Geissler, court records show.

Livingston then went upstairs and choked Wheeler into unconsciousness before returning downstairs and strangling her roommate, 60-year-old Denyse Marshall, prosecutors charge. .

The deadly attack came a day after Livingston was arrested on suspicion of beating his girlfriend and Geissler. He was booked into jail but released before prosecutors had a chance to file charges against him.

Related stories from Tacoma News Tribune