Prosecutor won't seek death penalty in 2011 slaying
Man accused of killing girlfriend is mentally ill, his lawyer says
Originally published May 31, 2012 at 1:12 p.m., updated May 31, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.
A Vancouver man who allegedly killed his girlfriend with a knife in May 2011 will not face the death penalty, Clark County’s prosecutor said Thursday.
Tony Golik said he made the decision after reviewing a mitigation packet prepared by the defense that outlined why Dennis L. Wolter should not face capital punishment. Wolter allegedly stabbed his girlfriend, Kori Fredericksen, to death before dumping her body down an embankment along Southeast Evergreen Highway on May 26, 2011.
Wolter, 44, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder because prosecutors allege he violated a domestic violence no-contact order that barred him from any contact with Fredericksen.
Golik said he met with the victim’s family members, police and other top prosecutors in his office before reaching a decision.
“After slow and careful consideration of this very serious and sad case, I reached a very difficult decision,” he said.
One of Wolter’s defense attorneys, Bob Yoseph, said he and attorney Therese Lavallee presented Golik with information that Wolter has an undisclosed mental illness.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for a mentally ill or developmentally disabled person to face the death penalty.
“The defense presented concrete evidence of a mental disease and defect that excluded Dennis from the pool of death-eligible candidates,” Yoseph said. “We think the prosecuting attorney made the right call in this case.”
Wolter’s trial is currently set for Oct. 15.
Golik said he anticipates the case will go to trial, as opposed to being settled by a plea bargain.
“We will seek nothing less than life in prison without the possibility of parole,” he said.
That penalty is the only other option for the charge of aggravated murder in Washington.
Wolter was arrested after a police officer stopped him for speeding and found him covered in blood. Police searching the area of the traffic stop found the 41-year-old Fredericksen’s body; she had been stabbed repeatedly.
Wolter is being held in the Clark County Jail without bail.