73-year-old Skagit County man rejects lighter sentence, takes 18 years for strangling girlfriend

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — A 73-year-old Rockport, Wash., man has been sentenced to 18 years and four months in prison for killing his girlfriend.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports (http://goo.gl/TukDP2 ) that Dwight Verne Foster pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder for the death of 61-year-old Tracey Ann Mathews in May 2013. A judge agreed to impose a maximum prison sentence at Foster's request.

Prosecutors were ready to recommend a sentence of 14 years and three months, but defense lawyer Sharon Fields says Foster didn't want the court's mercy.

Prosecutors say Foster and Mathews had lived together for about two decades. She died by strangulation after the couple got into an argument about him taking some medication.