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Defendant Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder and Assault
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 26, 2022

Defendant Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder and Assault

Olympia, WA – On September 26, 2022, Ronald Clayton pleaded guilty in Thurston County Superior Court to attempted murder in the second degree while armed with a deadly weapon and assault in the second degree.

About 24 hours after release from the Department of Corrections, Ronald Clayton stole a knife from a store and almost immediately used it in the commission of these crimes. On March 26, 2021, Thurston County deputies received a request to remove an unwanted person from a home in Yelm. Shortly after the first responding deputy, Deputy Andrea Moore, arrived, she reported over the radio that she had been stabbed and shots were fired. The second deputy to the scene arrived soon after and found both his colleague and the defendant on the ground, with a large knife within arm’s reach of Clayton. After handcuffing the defendant, he offered aid to the deputy, who lost consciousness at one point due to the stab wound to her neck.

The Region 3 Critical Incident Investigation Team was activated to respond to and investigate the incident, and they quickly learned that an elderly female was inside the trailer where this incident had just occurred. Deputies interviewed the woman and learned that Clayton arrived at the woman’s home earlier that evening, and she allowed him in because she knew him through her former roommate. Moments after he arrived, he pulled a large knife from a sheath and stated he was going to rape her. After about 10-15 minutes of the woman pleading and reasoning with him, a concerned neighbor dropped by to check on her and subsequently called the police from her home next door after realizing the woman was in danger.

The woman reported hearing a loud knock on the door and opened it to find the responding deputy who asked if she was ok. Clayton appeared behind the woman, threatening her with a knife, which led Deputy Moore to pull her firearm to protect the woman and herself. Clayton then knocked the woman to the ground and charged at Deputy Moore. The woman reported hearing gunshots before getting to her feet where she saw Clayton on top of the deputy. In fear for her life, she ran inside and locked herself in her home where she remained until medics transported Clayton and Deputy Moore to nearby hospitals for medical treatment.

The elderly victim died in May 2022, and representatives spoke in court about the tragic impact the crimes had on the final 14 months of her life. Deputy Moore, who has since transferred to another law enforcement agency, addressed Clayton directly in her comments to the court, saying that he sought out those he deemed weak in an effort to show dominance. “You failed. And I – a woman – am who took you down.”

Brandi Archer, the senior deputy prosecuting attorney involved with the case, said, “Today, we saw justice served for the victims of Ronald Clayton’s violent crimes. This incident had a profound impact on the victims and the community, and I am moved by the strength and resilience of the officer. Hopefully today’s sentencing provides some level of closure for everyone impacted by Mr. Clayton’s actions.”

Superior Court Judge Wilson sentenced Clayton to the high-end standard sentencing range, and he will serve just under 27 years in prison.