Ex-Bothell council member arrested for investigation of killing woman

James McNeal, 58, served eight years on the Bothell City Council. On Tuesday, he was arrested for investigation of murdering a 20-year-old woman.

BOTHELL — Police arrested a former Bothell City Council member Tuesday for investigation of strangling a 20-year-old woman in south Seattle.

A King County judge found probable cause Wednesday for James McNeal, 58, for second-degree murder, according to court documents. McNeal did not appear in court, so bail was not addressed at the time, said King County prosecutor’s office spokesperson Douglas Wagoner.

Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, McNeal’s attorney called 911 to report a “likely homicide” from outside the woman’s home in the 4600 block of South Orchard Street, according to a police report. Police reportedly arrived at the scene to find McNeal with both “fresh and dry blood” on his clothes.

In an upstairs bedroom, officers found a deceased woman with marks on her neck, jaw and forehead, lying on the bed nude, according to court documents. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the official cause and manner of death, but authorities suspected asphyxia. Investigators believe she had been dead for about 24 hours.

The deceased was identified in a police report as Liliya Guyvoronsky, of Seattle.

Officers arrested McNeal and transported him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

King County Superior Court Judge Adrienne McCoy approved a search warrant for the woman’s home, according to police. The woman had handwritten lists around the home, including one from Monday that read: “Do not interact w/James today,” court documents read. Investigators found bloodstains in the bedroom.

McNeal served on the Bothell City Council for eight years before losing to Mayor Mason Thompson in November by a margin of 63% to 37%.

“More than ever, we need leaders that focus on the whole community and not to be divisive,” McNeal wrote in the 2023 voters’ pamphlet. “We need leaders that are positive towards community members, staff and work well with others on council. With your vote I will continue to demonstrate these characteristics.”

McNeal worked in construction for 27 years. He served on 11 different regional boards, including the city’s diversity and equity, transportation and land conservation committees.

The former City Council member had a felony conviction for eluding a police vehicle in 1986, as well as two misdemeanors for reckless driving and assault, court records show.

McNeal remained in the King County Jail this week.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.