OMAK — In a surprise move, an Omak man pleaded guilty Wednesday to the first-degree premeditated murder of a 59-year-old woman who was bludgeoned to death and then dumped on a remote road.
Benjamin R. Bridges, 46, was scheduled to go to trial in Okanogan County Superior Court next week for killing Vickey Lee Harvey, a longtime resident and former Omak cheerleader and homecoming queen.
Instead, he will be sentenced June 20.
Okanogan County Prosecutor Karl Sloan was not available this morning, and Bridges’ lawyers have not yet returned a phone call to explain the plea agreement.
But Harvey’s family members confirmed a deal was made.
“I’m happy that there will be no trial, and he’s owning up to what he did,” said Jana Dieter, Harvey’s cousin.
Deiter said she believes the prosecutor agreed to recommend the low end of the standard range for first-degree murder in exchange for the plea.
She said she grew up with Harvey, and they raised their children in the Okanogan Valley together.
“We played dress up and had tea parties. We went through school together, and had kids together,” she said, adding, She was just a really good person. She had two beautiful daughters and beautiful grandchildren.”
Bridges was initially charged in Douglas County Superior Court after Harvey’s body was discovered on a remote road outside of Bridgeport. No motive was revealed in detective reports filed with his charges. An autopsy showed she died from four separate blows to her head.