By News-Register staff • 

Wolfe sentenced to life in prison for double murders

Rusty Rae/News-Register##Defense attorneys Diana Gentry, left, and Patrick Sweeney flank double-murderer Michael Wolfe at the defendant s sentencing hearing Wednesday moring in Yanhill County Circuit Court. Three photos of victims Karissa and Billy Fretwell are displayed to the right.
Rusty Rae/News-Register##Defense attorneys Diana Gentry, left, and Patrick Sweeney flank double-murderer Michael Wolfe at the defendant's sentencing hearing Wednesday moring in Yanhill County Circuit Court. Three photos of victims Karissa and Billy Fretwell are displayed to the right.
Rusty Rae/News-Register##Katrina Kent, Karissa Fretwell s sister, reads her impact statement to Judge Eric Bergstrom and the court. She s accompanied by her husband, in addition to Chief Deputy District Attorney Kate Lynch.
Rusty Rae/News-Register##Katrina Kent, Karissa Fretwell's sister, reads her impact statement to Judge Eric Bergstrom and the court. She's accompanied by her husband, in addition to Chief Deputy District Attorney Kate Lynch.

Michael Wolfe, who murdered 25-year-old Karissa Fretwell and their son, William “Billy” Fretwell II, age 3, in May 2019, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of post-prison supervision after 30 years in Yamhill County Circuit Court Wednesday morning.

Retired Multnomah County Judge Eric Bergstrom presided over a settlement conference Monday, May 9.

Wolfe pleaded guilty before Bergstrom to one count each of aggravated murder in connection with Billy’s death and second-degree murder related to the death of Karissa on Friday, June 17.

Those pleas removed any possibility the 55-year-old Wolfe would be sentenced to death, District Attorney Brad Berry said after that proceeding.

Each of the sentences carries a life term. There is the potential for post-prison supervision after 25 years on the second-degree murder charge,  but that’s immaterial, because that sentence runs concurrent to the aggravated murder count, per plea negotiations.

Fines and fees were waived as part of the agreement, and the victims’ family did not request any restitution of the defendant.

Karissa Fretwell’s mother,  Nyla Bales, and her husband, Kirk, who live in McMinnville, addressed the court, as did Karissa’s sister, Katrina Kent, who resides in Oklahoma.

Wolfe was originally led into the courtroom by two sheriff’s office deputies wearing a blue jail jumpsuit and shackled at the waist for the proceeding that was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. but got a late start.

He was taken back out at 9:30, and 20 minutes later, he returned wearing a suit and tie, and was taken into the jury room, accompanied by his attorneys, Diana Gentry and Patrick Sweeney of Portland.

There were discussions involving the defense attorneys, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kate Lynch, Deputy District Attorney Holly Winter and Berry leading up to the start of the proceeding. The victims’ family was updated regarding those talks.

After Nyla Bales, Kirk Bales and Kent addressed the court, Sweeney said he and Gentry had spoken to Wolfe about his right to speak, and they told Bergstrom their client had chosen not to say anything.

The last time Karissa and Billy were seen alive was May 13, 2019, Lynch told the court. Their bodies were found in a wooded area, wrapped together in a tarp, about 10 miles east of Yamhill on Saturday, June 15, 2019.

Karissa Fretwell was shot to death through the back of the head, according to Lynch. Billy’s cause of death was ruled undetermined.

The sentence provides a sense of closure for the victims’ family, and when Wolfe was led back to his jail cell to await transport to the Oregon Department of Corrections to begin his lifelong sentence, he had spent 1,152 days in local custody since his arrest, May 20, 2019, at a downtown Portland donut shop.

Lynch said he had been camping in the Portland area leading up to being taken into custody.

See Friday's print edition for additional details.

Comments

leo

FINALLY!!!

Flex5796

Finally some closure for the family!

Joel R

I've read this article three times and still find it confusing. How can it be a life sentence if he can be back out on the streets in 30 years? (see paragraph one).
Granted he'd be 85 at the time but their are plenty of people now days that live will up into their 90's. What he did deserves life without any possibility of parole.

madmacs

At least the victims' family were spared a trial. He probably won't live long enough to ever see a parole board anyway.

rosebloomer

Why would he be brought back unshackled and wearing a shirt and tie after pleading guilty to killing people?

Bill B

Great question rosebloomer! Guess it's based on tradition.

Lulu

"Closure" simply does not exist--much like transparency. There will be no "healing" from such a hideous, heinous act. A smile is not a frown turned upside down. Nobody lives "happily ever after." This type of grief never ends.