Jury: Lynnwood man guilty of killing wife, dumping her body

SEATTLE - A Lynnwood man accused of strangling his wife to death and dumping her body in the woods seven years ago is guilty of murder, a jury ruled Monday.

The 12 King County Superior Court jurors deliberated for a total of about a day and a half before reaching a verdict that David Pietz is guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of his wife.

His wife, Nicole Pietz, 32, was strangled to death and dumped in the woods in Burien in 2006. Nobody saw it happen.

Prosecutors said David Pietz was clumsy in his coverup and there was sufficient evidence to convict him despite the lack of witnesses.

David Pietz had claimed that his wife disappeared.

The family and friends of Nicole Pietz were crying, smiling and seemed ecstatic with the guilty verdict.

"I just wanted justice for my daughter and we got it -- yeah we did," said Gael Schneider, Nicole's mother.

David Pietz showed little reaction to the verdict, but was sweating as he was led away in handcuffs.

"This is the best feeling ever," said Barbara Arionus, one of Nicole's longtime friends. "7 years, 8 months, 17 days, and Nicci can rest in peace."

Prosecutor Kristen Richardson had said in her closing arguments that it's the little things that piled up into a mountain of evidence against David Pietz, such as his affairs, and a mouthguard found on his wife's body that she never left the house wearing.

"It was in her mouth because she had gone to bed when the defendant came home and killed her, and carried her naked out of the house... and put her body in the bushes," Richardson said.

Richardson also pointed out that there was medicine in Nicole Pietz's body that didn't have time to dissolve, and a calm call from David Pietz to 911 to report she was missing.

But David Pietz's defense attorney David Allen claimed his client was in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

"If he was on the phone call crying and shrieking, 'My wife's gone, oh my God!' and so forth, they would say he's faking it," Allen said.

The defense portrayed Nicole Peitz as a woman struggling with addiction. David Pietz repeatedly suggested his wife relapsed after eight years of sobriety.

But in the end, the jurors agreed with the prosecution.

"We felt tremendous amount of reasonable doubt, obviously the jury disagreed," said David Pietz' defense attorney David Allen.

Neither jurors nor David Pietz spoke after the verdict but Nicole's mom had something to say to the man who married and murdered her daughter.

"I hope you find it in your heart to be sorry, because if you don't, you'll burn in hell forever," Schneider said.

Sentencing will take place at a date to be announced.