A man who confessed in a jail television interview to killing a Yakima County man suspected of helping murder the mother of his child has pleaded guilty.
Donovan Thomas Culps, 38, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in a plea agreement accepted last week by U.S. District Court Judge Stanley A. Bastian. Culps pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder on Feb. 18.
Bastian set his sentencing for 11 a.m. May 27.
Culps admitted in an interview with Spokane television station KHQ that he killed Neil Cloud, 20, whom he said murdered his child’s mother, Felina Metsker, 33. Her body was found near White Swan in May 2016, a month after she went missing. Three people have been sentenced in her death, including Cloud’s brother, George Skylar Cloud, 22, who was sentenced in May to life without parole for killing Metsker.
Neil Cloud was found stabbed to death on Towtnuk Road in Medicine Valley west of White Swan, in a remote area of the Yakama Reservation, on Sept. 18, 2017.
When he confessed to a reporter that he killed Cloud, Culps was in prison on charges he murdered a pot shop employee in Cheney in September 2017. The Lucid Marijuana employee, Cameron Smith, refused to sell Culps marijuana. Smith’s body was found near Airway Heights. He had been shot in the head.
In January 2019, Culps pleaded guilty to Smith’s murder. He is serving 35 years to life in prison.
Culps was a suspect in Cloud’s death along with George Skyhawk Thompson, who pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Yakima in July to a 14-year prison term.
Cloud was stabbed to death sometime between June 7 and Aug. 29, 2017, according to court documents. A relative of Cloud contacted the Yakama Nation Police Department that August to report him missing.
Thompson admitted driving Cloud and another person to Culps’ home at 3960 Barkes Road, outside Harrah, in late June 2017, court documents state.
When they arrived, Culps ran to the car and began punching Cloud through the open window. The door opened, Cloud fell out and tried to run away but Culps began beating him, according to court documents. Cloud was yelling he was sorry before he lost consciousness. At that point, Thompson went back to his car and got zip ties to restrain Cloud.
“(Cloud) was dragged to a location near where Metsker’s trailer had been located. (Cloud) woke up, was crying, and asked (Culps) to stop. (Cloud) stated, ‘I didn’t do it,’” court documents note. “(Culps) began stabbing (Cloud) and slit his throat.”
After the murder, Thompson and Culps dug a hole for Cloud’s body and left it there for four to five days. “The body was later removed and dumped in a remote location,” according to documents.