A 23-year-old man was sentenced this month to more than 30 years in prison for the drug-related shootings of a Tacoma-area couple.
Brett Ashdon Dollens pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the December 2015 homicides of an engaged couple who were in their early 20s. Homicide includes murder and manslaughter. A friend found the bodies in their home. One of the victims was reportedly a drug dealer. In the days before the shootings, Dollens and the man had been arguing about drugs. The man accused Dollens of stealing his Percocet.
Percocet is an opioid that contains oxycodone, which is a morphine-like substance. It is prescribed for pain relief.
A source told detectives investigating the deaths that Dollens had planned to rob the man. However, Dollens told police he had gone to the couple's home to apologize. He said the man pulled a gun on him and as the two wrestled for control of the weapon, both victims were shot. A report from the county medical examiner's office did not indicate any sign of struggle and revealed that both victims were shot in the head at close range.
The 32-year sentence was a mid-range punishment agreed to by the prosecutor and the defense attorney as part of a plea negotiation. Originally Dollens was being held on $2 million bail after being charged with two counts of murder in the first degree.
A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when:
- With a premeditated intent, he or she causes the death of another person; or
- Under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life, he or she engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to any person, and thereby causes the death of a person; or
- He or she commits or attempts to commit the crime of either robbery, rape, arson or kidnapping in the first or second degree; or burglary in the first degree, and in the course of such a crime or while fleeing from the crime, he or she is involved with the death of another person.
Murder in the first degree is a Class A felony, punishable by up to life in prison, or a fine of up to $50,000, or both.
In contrast to the premeditated intent of someone found guilty of murder in the first degree, a person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when, with criminal negligence, he or she causes the death of another person. Manslaughter in the second degree is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, if you are facing criminal charges in Washington state, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.