Despite a lack of witnesses, video, DNA or any hard physical evidence, King County prosecutors on Wednesday lobbied a jury to find Martin “David” Pietz guilty of the 2006 murder of his wife, Nicole.
During closing arguments, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Richardson detailed the state’s circumstantial evidence – that Pietz was obsessed with sex and tired of his wife, was controlling and “cold and callous.” All of these details “set the stage” for an argument that led to Pietz strangling his wife.
“There are pieces missing,” Richardson said about the case. “That’s true with most criminal cases.”
The defense will give its closing arugment after the jury breaks for lunch. Jury deliberations aren’t expected to begin until Thursday.
For more than a month, Pietz has been on trial in King County Superior Court. While prosecutors say he strangled 32-year-old wife inside their Lynnwood condominium in January 2006 and then left her body hidden in a wooded area in Burien, his defense lawyers have contended that the state has a weak case.
During his opening statement, defense attorney Cooper Offenbecher said that his client might be guilty of “infidelity, immaturity and inappropriate behavior,” but not murder.
According to prosecutors, Pietz cheated on his wife before and during their nearly-four year marriage. Nicole, 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 constant criticism of her weight, clothing and hair.
David Pietz, who worked at fitness clubs and later at a bank in Kirkland, was also dissatisfied with his financial status and argued with his wife about money, she said.
Nicole was already in bed, a night retainer in her mouth and her wedding ring soaking in cleaning solution, when her husband arrived home from work around midnight Jan. 28, 2006, prosecutors said.
“At some point, his temper boiled over and he strangled her to death,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom said during her opening statement last month.“He got rid of her body; he got rid of her car” and showed up to work later that day as expected.
He then “pretended to be surprised” when she failed to arrive at a friend’s dinner party that night and again when he learned she hadn’t shown up for an earlier Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Renton, where she was to receive a coin commemorating her eight years of sobriety, Carlstrom said.
Pietz was arrested and charged more than six years after his wife’s slaying. Prosecutors, during the trial, said that Pietz made repeated inquiries into receiving a $38,000 life-insurance payout after her body was found.
“This is no mystery. There is nothing fictional about what happened to her,” Richardson said during her closing argument.