VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Jurors on Thursday afternoon convicted a Vancouver man of first-degree aggravated murder in the gruesome stabbing of his girlfriend in May 2011.
The panel of six women and six men deliberated for about four hours before rendering their verdict in Dennis Wolter's case just after 1 p.m.
Sentencing was set for June 24. Aggravated murder carries just two sentencing options in Washington: the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of release.
Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik did not seek the death penalty against Wolter, who stabbed his girlfriend more than 70 times and then dumped her body in a ditch off Old Evergreen Highway in far east Vancouver.
The crime was aggravated because Wolter had been charged with domestic violence of his girlfriend, Kori Fredericksen, a week before the killing and a no-contact order had been imposed.
In the trial, which lasted three weeks, defense attorney Therese Lavallee had argued her client was incapable of forming the intent to kill Fredericksen because of his fetal alcohol syndrome as well as a traumatic brain injury suffered as a teenager.
Golik, however, had pointed out Wolter's deliberate steps in the May 26, 2011, stabbing: He had repeatedly stabbed her at his home, using five knives in total.
The murder came to light after Wolter was stopped for speeding by a Camas police officer later that morning. He was covered in blood, which he explained as coming from his dying dog that he had rushed to a veterinarian.
Officers sweeping the area later came across Fredericksen's body in the ditch.