Willie Venable’s killer gets relative slap on the wrist

In September 2006, we noted the tragic death of M55 sprinter Willie Venable, a much-beloved Seattle athlete. Now comes word that Willie’s assailant has received a five-year sentence for second-degree manslaughter in the case. David Summers wrote to masters champion David Ortman: “Just in case you were never informed, I forwarded to you a message I received from the King County prosecutor who handled the case against the young man who took Willie Venable’s life. The assailant, a 17-year-old named Cordero Duckworth, was charged with second-degree manslaughter.”

Summers’ note continued:

Second degree manslaughter is defined as causing the death of someone with “criminal negligence,” and is a class B felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years. (Manslaughter in the first degree is defined as “recklessly” causing someone’s death.)
Duckworth was sentenced to five years, but will probably be out much sooner. Assuming a normal life expectancy, he has many years of violent crime ahead of him. Two more felony convictions, however, and he should be imprisoned for life under our “three strikes you’re out” law.
Incidentally, he was arrested on an unrelated matter the day before Willie died. He was found guilty of cocaine possession, and appealed. The court of appeals opinion explains that the cocaine was found when he was searched after being arrested for trying to steal a woman’s purse in downtown Seattle. Here’s the opinion.

Such a shame and waste of a good man’s life.

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November 13, 2008

2 Responses

  1. Francine Adams - April 11, 2009

    To Dave Ortman…
    Hi Dave. Just came across this article. Have lost contact with you. Can you please contact me at my email? Would like to get in touch with Willies nephew.

  2. Michele - August 13, 2018

    Willie was my cousin. Try contacting John Rogers Jr in Renton, Washington. He may be able to put you in contact with Willie’s sister or nephew. I was also in contact with Dave Ortman, but lost contact over time.

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Willie Venable’s legacy: organs as precious gifts

One of the greatest tragedies for masters track this year has one of the noblest outcomes. M55 sprinter Willie Venable of Kent, Washington, the victim of a fatal attack one night in August, is living on, reports his Seattle friend Dave Ortman. Willie’s organs have been transplanted into a number of people. Dave shared a note from Marjie Lines, a close friend of Willie’s who wrote: “It was wonderful meeting many of you and hearing all the warm, humorous stories about our dear Willie (at a September memorial for Willie that she and her husband hosted at their home). Sharing these memories and feeling his unique presence through your reflections, concern and love truly helped Nigel and me through this heavy time. Thank you.”

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October 28, 2006

2 Responses

  1. Juan Bustamante - October 29, 2006

    Nice article Ken.It help all of us to put in perspective our lives and appreciate others.Kep up the wonderful Blog.

  2. Rick Riddle - October 29, 2006

    This is beautifully written and very moving. Your last two lines will leave a lasting impression on all of us that congregate and read here. Thank you for sharing Willie and Marjie’s story.

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