A Spanaway man could face the death penalty after admitting in court Tuesday that he killed his wife and 11-year-old daughter this summer.
A tearful Dean Holmes pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the August deaths of his wife, Kristi, and their daughter, Violet.
Holmes, 40, wrote in his plea paperwork that he killed his wife and child because was in deep financial trouble and feared Kristi Holmes would leave him and take Violet with her.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist has until Nov. 20 to make a decision about whether to seek capital punishment for Holmes. The only other punishment available under his convictions is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Lindquist said he would take into consideration the fact that Holmes took responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty as charged, but the prosecutor said he did not offer to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for Holmes’ pleas.
“The defendant chose to plead guilty as charged today without any deals or promises,” said Lindquist, who will consult with his senior staff members before making a decision whether to seek capital punishment for Holmes. “In the Prosecutor’s Office, we make significant decisions on behalf of the community every day, but none are heavier than whether or not to seek the ultimate punishment.”
Holmes will be sentenced Dec. 7 to life in prison should Lindquist decide not to seek the death penalty.
Holmes shot his 41-year-old wife to death as she slept in their home Aug. 28.
He told detectives he killed her because he’d lied to her repeatedly about their bad financial situation and was certain she was about to find out about his latest deception. Holmes, who worked as a house painter, had been sued several times by clients who said he took their money but did not finish jobs.
Violet and a friend were sleeping in another room at the time. The girls didn’t hear the gunshot, and Holmes later woke them up, loaded them into his car and drove the friend home.
He shot Violet to death on the way back as she slept in the backseat of the family car. Holmes told detectives he didn’t think the girl would be able to cope with the fact he’d killed her mother.
Holmes allegedly contemplated suicide but instead went to authorities to tell them what he’d done.Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644