Kori Fredericksen’s plans to move to South Dakota were cut short when she returned to boyfriend Dennis Wolter’s house in Vancouver on May 25, 2011, to retrieve personal items, according to a friend.
Early the next morning, police found the 41-year-old woman’s body down a ravine along East Evergreen Highway between Camas and Vancouver. That was about a mile away from where Wolter was pulled over the same day for speeding.
Wolter and his blue Dodge pickup were covered in Fredericksen’s blood. A domestic violence no-contact order for Wolter to stay away from Fredericksen was lying on the front driver’s seat, said Vancouver police Detective Darren McShea.
In the fourth day of testimony Wednesday in Wolter’s murder trial, Dustin Sparks testified that Fredericksen asked him to take her to Wolter’s house around 11 p.m. May 25, 2011, to retrieve two end tables so she could put them in storage before moving to South Dakota and an air conditioning unit for Sparks’ room.
Fredericksen, who had lived with Wolter, went to stay with Sparks and his mom, Bobbi Manor, on May 21, 2011, after she had tried to board a bus to South Dakota, only to be turned away because her bags were too heavy.
When Fredericksen said she wanted to go to Wolter’s house on the night of May 25, 2011, Sparks said he and his mother objected.
“I didn’t feel comfortable with her being there,” Sparks said.
“I was telling her, ‘Why don’t we just wait until tomorrow?’ ” he said. “She just couldn’t wait.”
Sparks testified that Fredericksen insisted that he drop her off at an intersection near Wolter’s house and that he return home until she called him to pick her up. She never called, he said.
Prosecutors say Wolter, 43, stabbed Fredericksen more than 70 times inside his home at 1205 W. 39th St. in Vancouver to prevent her from testifying against him in a previous domestic violence case.
Wolter’s attorney, Therese Lavallee, doesn’t dispute the killing, but will base her defense around Wolter’s allegedly diminished mental capacity and lack of ability to form criminal intent. She says he has brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome and sustained a traumatic brain injury at age 18.
Wolter is charged with aggravated first-degree murder, which requires prosecutors to prove intent. Though it is a capital crime, prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.
The jury on Wednesday also heard from a forensic scientist who identified Wolter’s fingerprints on a knife allegedly used to slay Fredericksen and on a note Wolter had written promising not to hurt her.
The relationship between Wolter and Fredericksen soured about a month after she and her young son moved into Wolter’s house in Vancouver, Tammi Murphy, Fredericksen’s sister, testified Wednesday.
“There was just some arguing,” Murphy said.
Paula Gardner, Wolter’s friend, said before his arrest on May 17, 2011, Wolter came over to her house about 10 blocks away from his.
He “said he had an argument with his girlfriend, and he just needed to sit down and cool off a little bit.”
Fredericksen lived with Wolter for about three months before her murder, Murphy said.
After Wolter’s arrest, Fredericksen had showed up with a male friend at the mini storage center where Murphy worked to store some items she’d moved out of Wolter’s house, she said.
Meanwhile, Wolter’s friend, Paula Gardner, bailed Wolter out of jail on May 19, 2011, Gardner said. She took him to stay at her home, because the no-contact order barred him from returning to his home, where Fredericksen was still living.
After he was released from jail, she and Wolter went with a police escort to collect some of Wolter’s personal effects at his house, and Wolter was upset because he said some of his possessions were missing, Gardner said.
While at Gardner’s house, she said he was constantly on his cellphone, “yelling and screaming.”
She said he was upset that Fredericksen had put some of his belongings in Fredericksen’s storage unit, including some tools he needed.
Gardner said she also made efforts to prevent him from violating the no-contact order. He was conflicted by his desire to make up with Fredericksen and his frustration about her decision to call the cops on him, she said.
On May 25, 2011, he told Gardner he would be moving out of her house. He wanted to be a “big boy” and take care of himself, she said.
Shortly before the murder, a bank teller testified that Wolter had made a chilling comment while he was doing business at Vancouver’s First Independent Bank.
Ashley Sagor said she knew Wolter as a regular customer. On one occasion, however, he shared more personal information with her than usual, she said.
He said he needed more cash that day because his girlfriend had thrown bleach on his clothes and he needed to buy new ones.
“He made comments she would get what she deserved,” Sagor said.
The trial is expected to continue into next week.