Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

April 25, 2014 at 2:50 PM

20-year sentence for AWOL soldier who killed Kirkland woman

A former soldier who killed a 19-year-old Kirkland woman with a butcher knife in November 2011 was sentenced today to 20 years in prison.

Dakota Wolf, 22, pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon for the random attack that killed Scarlett Paxton. Paxton and Wolf did not know each other.

During his sentencing hearing in King County Superior Court, Wolf said he knew he had caused Paxton’s family grief “past the point of no return” and said, “I deserve life, no, I deserve death.”

Paxton’s family members, who packed the courtroom, agreed.

Her father, Ernest Paxton, said he had long dreamed of being alone in a room with Wolf, whom he called “a piece of garbage,” but said he realized that killing Wolf would not bring back his daughter.

According to his attorney and prosecutors, Wolf was high on synthetic marijuana, known as “Spice,” at the time of the slaying.

On Nov. 18, 2011, Wolf – who had been assigned to a Stryker unit based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord – went  AWOL for the sixth and final time, according to Army charging documents.

Ten days later, he called a friend’s family and asked if he could stay at their Kirkland house after he had a falling-out with his mother, according to charges filed in King County Superior Court. The homeowners agreed, and Wolf moved into a basement bedroom.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 30, Paxton and her boyfriend left their apartment complex in Juanita for a walk. About 10 minutes into the walk, Paxton became upset with her boyfriend, took his keys and began walking home alone, according to the charges.

When the boyfriend returned to their apartment complex just before 3 a.m., he found Paxton slumped over in front of their apartment, covered in blood and dead from a knife wound to her neck, the charges say. A Cutco-brand butcher knife was found near where she collapsed.

Investigators later found bloody prints and a blood trail that began in an alley behind a nearby Albertsons supermarket and led to the apartments, charging papers say.

Hours after Paxton was found, the owners of the home where Wolf was staying contacted Lewis-McChord officials and expressed concern that Wolf – who had shown intense interest in media coverage of the slaying and visited the scene at least twice after Paxton’s death – was somehow involved, the papers say.

Military officials contacted Kirkland police, who took Wolf into custody in the basement bedroom, where investigators found bloody clothing, several Cutco knives and an empty knife sheath that matched the murder weapon, charging papers say.

DNA tests revealed Paxton’s blood was on Wolf’s clothing; her blood and Wolf’s prints were also found on a rear wall of the Albertsons; and surveillance video from a nearby business showed a male who appeared to be Wolf walking in the area at the time Paxton was killed, the papers say.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Kirkland


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►