Final witnesses and closing arguments are set for Monday in a punishment hearing for a Baytown man who pleaded guilty to stabbing his 16-year-old girlfriend to death, prosecutors said.

More than 30 witnesses testified in the case of Jesse Christian Dobbs, 23, who pleaded guilty in September to stabbing Kirsten Nicole Fritch more than 60 times and dumping her body in deep brush by a Texas City drainage ditch in November 2016.

Defense attorneys representing Dobbs have argued their client acted in sudden fear and passion when he stabbed Fritch, while prosecutors have done their best to portray him as a repeat criminal offender who had killed several people.

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.

Cynthia Morris, 37, and her daughter Breanna Pavlicek, 13, were found shot to death in their Baytown home Nov. 8, 2016. Fritch and the family’s white PT Cruiser were missing.

But Dobbs hasn’t been charged in connection with those deaths, defense attorneys noted.

Investigators launched a statewide Amber Alert for Fritch, and within hours authorities had tracked the car to Shenanigans Sports Bar in the 800 block of 34th Street in Texas City.

Dobbs was arrested inside the bar that night on a resisting arrest charge.

More than 36 hours later, on Nov. 10, Texas EquuSearch volunteers found Fritch’s body in brush about 20 feet deep near a drainage ditch, Alvin Tips, a volunteer with the group, testified Tuesday.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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