Man receives 35-year prison sentence for stabbing death of Kent woman

Shawn Gulseth received a 25-year prison sentence Dec. 6 for the 2010 murder of his ex-girlfriend in Kent. - Kent Reporter, file photo
Shawn Gulseth received a 25-year prison sentence Dec. 6 for the 2010 murder of his ex-girlfriend in Kent.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

A 43-year-old man received a 35-year prison sentence for the 2010 stabbing death of his former girlfriend in her Kent apartment.

Shawn D. Gulseth pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last month in the Dec. 21, 2010 death of Bonnie Peterson, 45. King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas sentenced Gulseth on Friday.

Prosecutors recommended a 35-year sentence, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Gulseth faced a sentence range of 26 to 35 years for second-degree murder, a deadly weapon enhancement and a domestic violence aggravator.

According to charging papers, Gulseth brutally beat and stabbed to death Peterson. Gulseth and Peterson had dated for about eight months. Kent Police detectives found out from interviews with friends or acquaintances of the two that Peterson had decided earlier in December 2010 to break off the relationship.

Gulseth had assaulted Peterson in the past and was a known drug user who became violent when he was under the influence of narcotics.

Peterson and Gulseth had an argument at the apartment the night of Dec. 20, according to a phone call to Peterson from a friend. Peterson did not answer her apartment door the next morning when friends stopped to pick her up for work.

Detectives found bloody fingerprints as well as a large kitchen knife next to Peterson's body. Detectives found eight prints inside the apartment that belonged to Gulseth.

Detectives also found two men's shoes near her body, one white and black right shoe and one gray left shoe. Police obtained video surveillance from a business near the East Hill apartment that showed a man who appeared to be Gulseth running the night of Dec. 20 toward Kent-Kangley Road wearing a black vest, jeans and one black left shoe and one gray right shoe similar to the mismatched shoes found next to Peterson's body.

Witnesses told police that a man similar to Gulseth's description had tried to get into vehicles as they slowed down along Kent-Kangley Road the night of Dec. 20 at around the same time of the video surveillance.

California police agencies arrested Gulseth Jan. 11, 2011 when they found him living under a bridge in the town of Willits in Northern California. Gulseth waived an extradition hearing in Mendocino County, Calif., that allowed King County authorities to transport him to Washington.

Kent Police had searched for Gulseth as a suspect in the death of Peterson since officers found her body at the Village at Lake Meridian apartments.

Gulseth had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in February 2011.

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