By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Wolfe re-indicted to 'conform' with new death penalty law

An amended Yamhill County Grand Jury indictment for double-murder suspect Michael Wolfe includes one count of aggravated murder and two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree murder/constituting domestic violence and first-degree kidnapping, in connection with the May deaths of Karissa Fretwell, a 25-year-old single mother from Salem, and their biological son, 3-year-old William “Billy” Fretwell II.

The amended indictment was filed last week. Three members of law enforcement and one physician testified.

District Attorney Brad Berry said the indictment was amended to “conform with Senate Bill 1013” related to the aggravated murder and death penalty components.

Wolfe is a potential death penalty candidate. However, Oregon has had a moratorium on executions since 2011. It was ordered by then Gov. John Kitzhaber. His successor, Kate Brown, has left it in place.

Wolfe was originally indicted on two counts each of aggravated murder and first-degree kidnapping, in addition to one count of aggravated murder/constituting domestic violence.

The aggravated murder charge, as part of the amended indictment, alleges Wolfe acted “unlawfully, intentionally and with premeditation” in causing Billy’s death. Premeditation is a key element as the case proceeds.

One count of first-degree murder alleges that Wolfe “unlawfully and intentionally” killed Fretwell and her son, “in the course of the same criminal episode.”

A second first-degree murder charge alleges Wolfe, while “unlawfully and knowingly” attempting to commit the offense of first-degree kidnapping, “intentionally” caused Billy’s death.

Aggravated murder is the only crime punishable by death in Oregon.

Under the new SB1013 law, which took effect earlier this year, defendants can be tried and convicted of aggravated murder only under the following circumstances:

n Killed two or more people as an act of organized terrorism.

n Intentionally killed a child younger than 14 with premeditation.

n Killed another person while in jail or prison while incarcerated for a previous murder.

n Killed a corrections, police or probation officer.

The 52-year-old Wolfe, who was living on Phillips Road in rural Gaston when it’s alleged he murdered Fretwell and her son, will return to court at 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, for a status check on the case. Future court appearances are scheduled to be set, including trial dates.

He will not be restrained in court during the proceeding. However, he will wear a belly chain, be handcuffed and shackled at the ankles while being escorted to and from the jail and Presiding Judge Cynthia Easterday’s courtroom. Multiple security deputies will be present during the appearance.

In another development, Fretwell’s mother, Nyla Bales of McMinnville, filed a $2,050,000 wrongful death lawsuit against Wolfe. The suit asks for $1 million each in economic and non-economic damages and $50,000 for burial, funeral and medical expenses. It was filed by McMinnville attorney Gary Norris in circuit court.

In an accompanying suit, also filed by Norris, Bales is asking the court to set aside the alleged fraudulent transfer of real property from Wolfe to his wife, Monica Wolfe, who has not been implicated in the crimes.



I still find it surprising that he won't be restrained. Man, I sure hope they have a lot of deputies nearby and that they are the type of deputies who are young enough and fit enough to tackle him if needed. That judge has got more courage than I would have.


I dont think he would get very far ,ankle an belly chain.Plus the deputies in Yamhill County know there job.

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