Despite a lack of witnesses and DNA evidence, King County prosecutors Wednesday urged a jury to find Martin “David” Pietz guilty in the 2006 murder of his wife, Nicole.
During closing arguments, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Richardson detailed the state’s admittedly circumstantial case, saying Pietz was tired of his wife, wanted a more creative sex life and was “cold and callous.”
All of these details “set the stage” for an argument that led Pietz to strangle his wife in their Lynnwood condominium in January 2006, Richardson said.
The defense, meanwhile, poked holes in the prosecution’s case.
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“In this case there are many reasonable doubts,” attorney David Allen said during his closing argument.
Allen said prosecutors based their case on Pietz’s character and failed to establish a motive. They conceded he had been unfaithful but said that didn’t make him a killer.
“Dave Pietz isn’t the first guy to step out on his spouse,” Allen told jurors Wednesday. “Is it a motive to kill his wife? He had bad boundaries; he’s oversexed.”
The defense, noting that Nicole Pietz had struggled with drug addition, may have relapsed before her death. That relapse may have played a role in her death, they said.
Allen questioned the credibility of several of the state’s witnesses, claiming they had changed their testimony over time. He also reminded jurors that Pietz’s decision not to testify during the trial is not an admission of guilt.
Jurors will begin their deliberations Thursday.
Nicole Pietz, 32, disappeared from the couple’s home Jan. 28, 2006, and her body was found in Burien woods about a week later. Her car was found in Seattle’s University District.
While long considered a suspect, Pietz wasn’t arrested until more than six years later, on March 21, 2012.
Nicole Pietz, who had battled an addiction to pain pills but had been sober for eight years, suffered from a lack of self-esteem and so “put up with a lot” from her husband, including his infidelity, constant criticism of her weight, clothing and hair, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors, during the trial, said Pietz had made repeated inquiries into a $38,000 life-insurance payout after her body was found.
“Nicole Pietz thought she had married the man of her dreams. Those dreams turned into a nightmare,” said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom.
But Allen called Nicole Pietz’s history of drug use into question and told jurors she used prescribed narcotics to treat an injury in the weeks before her death. Allen declined to elaborate, other than to say that “this should raise many, many reasonable doubts in the case.”
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.