In an encounter with an old friend at the Clark County Jail, Dennis Wolter allegedly confessed that he killed his girlfriend, Kori Fredericksen, in May 2011 because she “narced him out.”
Dannielle Williams said Thursday that she was taken into custody on May 26, 2011, for a parole violation related to a DUI conviction. Inside a Camas police patrol car, she encountered an old friend — Wolter — who also was being transported to the Clark County Jail, though she didn’t recognize him at first. She was seated in the front, while he was in the backseat.
“We were just making small talk,” she testified. “Then, I realized I recognized him.”
They talked as they waited outside the jail’s booking area. Here is how she recalled the conversation for jurors:
“ ‘What are you in for?’” she asked
“ ‘Murder,’ ” he replied.
“ ‘Wow, tough luck,’ ” she said. “ ‘I’m here for DUI.’ ”
“ ‘Who did you kill?’ ” she asked him.
“ ‘Kori,’ ” he said.
She said she didn’t immediately register who Kori was, then realized the victim was her ex-boyfriend’s stepmother. She asked Wolter why he killed Fredericksen, Williams said.
“He said she narced on him,” Williams testified.
“‘Karma is a bitch,’” she told Wolter. “‘What goes around, comes around.’” She testified that she was referring to Wolter’s wrongdoing when she made the comment.
“‘It was quick and easy this way,’” Wolter replied.
He then asked her to apologize to her ex-boyfriend for killing his stepmother, Williams said.
Williams said she was offered a possible sentence reduction in exchange for her cooperation in testifying. However, the judge in her case declined to reduce her sentence, she said. Nevertheless, she said, she decided to testify against Wolter.
Prosecutors say Wolter, 43, stabbed Fredericksen, 41, 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, Ther-ese 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.
Clark County Medical Examiner Dr. Dennis Wickham testified Thursday that Fredericksen bled to death. He found stab wounds through multiple organs, as well as to her aorta, the largest artery in the body. He said she was stabbed multiple times before she lost consciousness, based on several defensive wounds on her hands and arms.
He showed the jury more than 20 photographs taken during her autopsy. As he showed the photos, Fredericksen’s sister, Tammi Murphy, rushed out of the courtroom, weeping.
Wickham also testified he found 0.16 mg of methamphetamine in Fredericksen’s blood.
Lavallee asked whether that amount of meth could cause someone to be violent or irrational. Wickham said he didn’t know. The defense attorney has said she plans to show that Fredericksen came at Wolter with knives before Wolter repeatedly stabbed her.
Early on May 26, 2011, police found Fredericksen’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.
According to previous testimony, 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 on the front driver’s seat. Police later found five blood-stained knives, a trail and pools of blood, and Fredericksen’s bloody, perforated sweater, at Wolter’s home.
Forensic scientist Caron Pruiett of the Washington State Patrol testified on Thursday that blood found in the truck bed, on the sweater and on Wolter’s jeans matched Fredericksen’s DNA. Blood stains on the blades of two knives also matched Fredericksen’s DNA. Blood stains on two other knife blades matched Wolter’s DNA, Pruiett said.
Vancouver police Detective John Ringo testified that at the time of Wolter’s arrest, the defendant had only one wound on his body, a cut to his right index finger. Ringo showed the jury photos of the finger wound, as well as other photos of Wolter’s nearly nude body at the time of his arrest.
The knife handles, where there was no blood, had a mixture of DNA from Fredericksen and Wolter. That’s not unusual given that the couple lived together at Wolter’s home, Pruiett said.
Thursday was the fifth day of the trial. The prosecution is expected to rest its case today, and the defense will present its case beginning Monday.