Shawn David Gulseth pleaded not guilty Thursday in King County Superior Court in Kent to a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 21 stabbing death of his Kent girlfriend at her apartment.
Gulseth, 40, of Kent, remains in custody at the county jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center on $1.5 million bail. Gulseth appeared at his arraignment with a shaved head. He had brown hair pulled back with a pony tail in December.
According to charging papers, Gulseth brutally beat and stabbed to death Bonnie Peterson, 45. Gulseth and Peterson had dated for about eight months. Kent detectives found out from interviews with friends or acquaintances of the two that Peterson had decided earlier in December to break off the relationship.
Gulseth reportedly 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.
California police agencies arrested Gulseth Jan. 11 when they found him living under a bridge in the town of Willits in Northern California. Gulseth waived an extradition hearing Jan. 13 in Mendocino County, Calif., that allowed King County authorities to transport him Jan. 21 to Washington.
Kent Police had searched for Gulseth as a suspect in the death of Peterson since officers found her body Dec. 21 at the Village at Lake Meridian apartments on the East Hill.
Gulseth is scheduled to return to court Feb. 16 when a trial date could be set or attorneys from either side could ask for more time to prepare the case.