Man on trial for wife's murder 7 years after her naked body found

by: Amy Clancy Updated:


More than 7 years after the nude body of 32-year-old Nicole Pietz was discovered in a Burien field, her husband David Pietz is finally on trial for her murder.

With the victim's friends and family in the Seattle courtroom on Thursday, King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom began to lay out the mistakes she  said David Pietz made, such as not removing his wife's retainer when he allegedly dumped her strangled body back in early 2006.

Carlstrom told the jury the “retainer was in her mouth.  She never left her house that night.  He killed her.”

>>> Timeline: Nicole Pietz Murder Case

When Pietz disappeared in late January 2006, her husband pleaded on KIRO 7 for help in finding her. David Pietz also claimed Nicole left for an AA meeting that Saturday morning and wasn't seen again. He told KIRO seven days after Nicole disappeared, "I worked until 11 p.m. Came home around midnight. And that's the last time I saw her."

But during opening statements, Carlstrom claimed Pietz strangled his wife late Friday, January 28, 2006 because he no longer wanted to be married. According to the prosecutor, David Pietz was bored because his painkiller-addicted wife no longer used drugs or alcohol, and wasn't any fun. Carlstrom also talked in court of David Pietz's numerous extramarital affairs: "Within a few weeks after Nicole's body was found, he asked a co-worker if it was too soon to start dating again," Carlstrom said.

But defense attorney Cooper Offenbecher said there’s evidence Nicole Pietz – who had been sober for eight years -- might have been abusing prescription painkillers again when she died.  According to Offenbecher, all evidence against his client is circumstantial:  “It’s not going to show that David Pietz took Nicole’s life.”  Offenbecher called what happened to Nicole Pietz “a mystery.”

Shelley Sexton, a friend of Nicole's sister, said outside the courtroom today that she's glad David Pietz's trial has finally begun. "Today, we got to look in his eyes, and that's something we didn't get when he was arrested," she said.

Witness testimony will begin on Monday.  The trial is expected to stretch into mid-October.

Want to talk about the news of the day? Watch free streaming video on the KIRO 7 mobile app and iPad app, and join us here on Facebook.