Ex-JBLM soldier faces murder charge in Kirkland woman's slaying
Kicked out of the Army, former soldier Dakota Wolf now faces first-degree-murder charges in the random November slaying of a 19-year-old woman.
Seattle Times staff reporter
After serving a nine-month sentence at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and receiving a bad-conduct discharge from the Army, former soldier Dakota Wolf was transferred Sunday to the King County Jail and will now face a first-degree-murder charge.
He is accused in the November slaying of a 19-year-old Kirkland woman who died in what King County prosecutors have described as a random and brutal knife attack.
Wolf, now 20, served his military sentence for repeatedly being absent without leave, smoking synthetic marijuana known as "spice," and assaulting a noncommissioned officer, said Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield, a spokesman for the Army's I Corps.
Wolf received a bad-conduct discharge and was transferred to King County authorities "to face their judicial system" after completing his military sentence, Dangerfield said.
Wolf is being held in lieu of $2 million bail, jail records show.
He is to be arraigned Monday.
On Nov. 18, Wolf — who had been assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team — went AWOL for the sixth and final time, according to Army charging documents. He is accused of fatally attacking Scarlett Paxton with a butcher knife early Nov. 30.
According to charging documents, Wolf called a friend's family Nov. 28 and asked if he could stay at their house after he had a falling-out with his mother, the papers say. The Kirkland homeowners agreed, and Wolf moved into a basement bedroom.
Around 1:30 a.m. Nov. 30, Paxton and her boyfriend left their apartment complex in Juanita for an early-morning walk. About 10 minutes into the walk, Paxton became upset with him, took his keys and began walking home, charging papers say.
The boyfriend continued his walk, and when he returned to the apartment complex just before 3 a.m., he found Paxton slumped over in front of their apartment, the papers say.
He called 911 and medics arrived to find him performing CPR on Paxton, who was dead from a knife wound to her neck, charging papers say. A Cutco-brand butcher knife was found near where Paxton had 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 documents say.
Hours after Paxton was found, the owners of the home where Wolf was staying contacted Lewis-McChord officials. They expressed concern that Wolf — who had allegedly shown intense interest in media coverage of the homicide and had visited the scene at least twice after Paxton's death — was somehow involved, charging papers say.
Military officials contacted Kirkland police, who took Wolf into custody in the basement bedroom, where investigators found bloody clothing and several Cutco knives and an empty knife sheath that matched the alleged murder weapon, the papers say.
DNA tests revealed that Paxton's blood was found on a pair of gray pants taken from Wolf's room; her blood and Wolf's prints were also found on the rear wall of the Albertson's, charging papers say.
Surveillance video from nearby businesses showed a male who appeared to be Wolf walking in the area, according to charging papers, which note that, "No other subjects were seen taking the same route during the time frame of Paxton's murder."
Information from Times archives is included in this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org