Prosecutors weighing aggravated murder charge in Vancouver slaying

Man accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend could face death penalty

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: June 1, 2011, 6:22 PM

 

Prosecutors are considering charging a Vancouver man accused of fatally stabbing his live-in girlfriend with first-degree aggravated murder, a crime that carries the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty.

In paperwork filed Wednesday in Clark County Superior Court, defense attorney Therese Lavallee requested a second attorney on the case and a delay in Dennis L. Wolter’s arraignment.

Judge Robert Lewis appointed Vancouver attorney Bob Yoseph as Wolter’s second attorney. He set arraignment for June 23.

After a brief morning hearing, Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik said he hasn’t yet made a charging decision in the case, as he’s still reviewing police reports.

Lavallee said in court papers that she met with Golik after Wolter’s first court appearance on May 27, and the prosecutor told Lavallee he was considering an aggravated murder charge.

Aggravated first-degree murder is the only crime in Washington that can be punished by death. Prosecutors must file paperwork with the court if they intend to seek the punishment; if not the death penalty, the sentence is life in prison without the possibility of release for those convicted.

Wolter is accused of repeatedly stabbing his 41-year-old girlfriend, Kori Fredericksen, at their home in the 1200 block of West 39th Street.

He was taken into custody for questioning after a Camas police officer stopped his pickup for speeding early May 26 and found him covered in blood.

Police searching the area of the traffic stop discovered Fredericksen’s body down a steep embankment along Old Evergreen Highway.

Fredericksen’s sister has said her sister was trying to leave town the night of the slaying. After being unable to pay the extra fee for overweight baggage on the Greyhound bus, she went back to Wolter’s house because she told a friend she wanted to retrieve her personal items. She was never heard from again.

Following the discovery of her body, officials placed Fredericksen’s 7-year-old son, who also lived with Wolter, in the care of Child Protective Services.

Wolter is being held in the Clark County Jail without bail.

Wolter was arrested the week prior to the slaying on suspicion of fourth-degree assault of Fredericksen. A no-contact order was imposed. Violating a no-contact order during the commission of a homicide is an aggravating factor under Washington law.

If charged with aggravated murder, Wolter would only be the second defendant in Clark County over the past several years to face that accusation.

The last defendant charged with aggravated murder was Darrin E. Sanford, a homeless Level 3 sex offender accused of slaying 13-year-old Alycia Nipp during a rape attempt in February 2009. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of release.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516 or laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.