Alleged Drug Dealer Charged In Belltown Homicide

An alleged drug dealer with a felony history in multiple states has been charged with the murder of Michelle Thornton, a woman found in the closet of her Belltown apartment Jan. 6.

Thornton, 43, was sexually assaulted and strangled Dec. 30.

Seattle police say they matched DNA from Gary Wade, 40, to DNA found on Thornton’s body. Arrested about 1:15 a.m. Saturday in Belltown, Wade acknowledged he occasionally sold crack to Thornton, but said he hadn’t seen her since before Christmas.

“However, after being confronted with certain pieces of evidence, Wade changed his story and stated that when he last saw Ms. Thornton, she was dead and that he had placed her in her closet,” Seattle homicide Detective Jeffrey Mudd wrote in a probable-cause document.

Wade has a felony criminal history in Utah, and his DNA profile was on file with the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services. He also has a felony conviction in Georgia, and his criminal history includes assault, offering for prostitution, attempting to distribute dangerous drugs and resisting arrest.