Jesse Christian Dobbs remembers being thirsty.
Of all of the events and decisions leading up to Dobbs, 23, stabbing his 16-year-old girlfriend, Kirsten Nicole Fritch, to death in the late afternoon of Nov. 6, 2016, there were many things he said he couldn’t remember.
But the one detail that kept coming up during Dobbs’ testimony Monday morning in the 56th District Court in Galveston was that he was thirsty. He walked into a sports bar in Texas City shortly after stabbing Fritch to death and asked for a glass of water, he said.
“She called me a rapist, and I just got so mad,” Dobbs said. “I pulled out my knife and started stabbing her. I don’t know how many times, but it was a lot. I wasn’t thinking much — it was an out-of-body experience. Finally, she was quiet, and I got up and walked away. I was just so thirsty.”
Jurors have heard from more than 35 witnesses in the five days since the trial began last week to determine how long Dobbs, formerly a resident of Livingston, will serve time in prison.
Last month, Dobbs pleaded guilty to murdering Fritch.
“I feel really bad about it and should go to prison for a long time,” Dobbs said Monday about the decision to plead guilty. “I loved her so much.”
Dobbs’ defense attorneys argue that he acted in fear and sudden passion rather than premeditation in November 2016 when he stabbed Fritch more than 60 times and dumped her body in deep brush by a Texas City drainage ditch.
If the jury finds Dobbs acted in sudden passion, the punishment range is two to 20 years in prison instead of the normal five to 99 years for a murder conviction, defense attorneys said.
Prosecutors argued in court that Dobbs is a repeat criminal offender who they believe killed multiple people and had a history of pursuing younger women, such as Fritch.
Fritch’s mother, Cynthia Morris, 37, and Morris’s daughter, Breanna Pavlicek, 13, were found shot to death in their Baytown home Nov. 8, 2016. Police noted that Fritch and the family’s white PT Cruiser were missing.
Defense attorneys emphasized that Dobbs hasn’t been charged in connection with those deaths.
Dobbs Monday testified that Fritch, prior to her death, had argued with her mother, Morris, and that he left the house to wait at a park while the two argued.
After waiting for several hours, Fritch drove up in her mother’s white PT Cruiser, and Dobbs rode off with her, according to Dobbs’ witness stand account.
Fritch wanted to go toward Dallas, but Dobbs had no sense of direction, he said.
Eventually the couple made it to Texas City, where Dobbs received a call from an ex-girlfriend who told him that Morris and Pavlicek had been found dead, Dobbs said.
He and Fritch then agreed to split up for a bit before meeting later in some woods, Dobbs said.
While on his own he tried to call a friend who didn’t answer, he said.
Dobbs and Fritch then met and he told her about making the phone call, upsetting her, he said.
“I asked her what the hell was going on, and she said that everything she did, she did for me,” Dobbs said. “She was screaming and acting crazy.”
Dobbs testified that Fritch then explicitly told him she had killed her mom and sister because she wanted to remain together with him.
“I just wanted to leave and clear my head,” Dobbs said. “She kept getting in my way; she said if I left, she’d say I did it and they’d believe her.”
Dobbs said he finally broke down and stabbed her.
Investigators launched a statewide Amber Alert for Fritch on Nov. 8. Within hours, authorities tracked the missing car to Shenanigans Sports Bar in the 800 block of 34th Street in Texas City.
Dobbs was arrested inside the bar on a resisting arrest charge.
After his arrest, Dobbs told investigators during a brief interview he had killed his girlfriend, but that she hadn’t been the real Kirsten, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Dobbs on Monday testified he had no idea why he said that.
After Dobbs finished testifying, both sides held closing arguments before the jury began deliberating.
By deadline Monday, the jury had yet to reach a decision.