A man was sentenced to more than three decades in prison Monday for fatally shooting a Fife couple after an argument investigators said was about drugs.
Brett Ashdon Dollens, 23, pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the deaths of 23-year-old Daniel Miller and 22-year-old Charissa Dobbins, who were newly engaged.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff agreed to a mid-range sentence of 32 years, which the prosecution and defense recommended as part of plea negotiations. Dollens initially face two counts of first-degree murder.
“You have a responsibility now to lead your life well, to honor the people you’ve killed,” the judge said. “... What you’ve done here is awful, obviously.”
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According to charging papers, Miller dealt drugs and had been feuding with Dollens for days after he accused Dollens of stealing his Percocet. A friend found the bodies of Miller and Dobbins on Dec. 7 at their home in the 1000 block of 66th Avenue East.
A third party told detectives that Dollens had planned to rob Miller.
Dollens told investigators he’d gone to the couple’s home to apologize, but Miller pulled a gun, the men wrestled, and the weapon went off, shooting the couple.
Both victims were shot in the head at close range, and the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said there were no signs of a struggle.
Miller’s grandmother, Marry Haddon, said her grandson made bad choices, but loved his family and was excited to marry Dobbins.
She said she’d met his fiancee only a few times, but knew Dobbins had a toddler son, and described her as quiet and reserved.
“He turned to drugs, and that’s where his demise was,” Haddon said.
The family had been looking for ways to get him help for his problem, which she said started with pills when he was about 17, and progressed to heroin and methamphetamine.
“I don’t know what Danny did for you to kill him,” Haddon said at the sentencing. “He did not deserve it. ... You have taken away our chance to help Danny be free of drugs.”
Miller’s and Dobbins’ loved ones said Dollens didn’t seem remorseful or to care about what he’d done.
“I’m extremely sorry for what happened,” Dollens told the court, adding that he regularly thinks about Dobbins’ son and how he’s been affected.
Regarding remorse and how he may or may not show emotion, Dollens told the court he has Asperger’s syndrome.
“There’s different ways that I express myself,” he said.
Dollens’ mother, Kimberly Dollens, told the court her son had gotten involved with the wrong people, and she knows he is sorry for what he did.
“He is a very good person,” she said. “... He was put in a very difficult situation.”