A Baytown man has pleaded guilty to stabbing his 16-year-old girlfriend to death and hiding her body in a wooded area in November 2016 in Texas City.

Jesse Christian Dobbs, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of murder Tuesday in the 56th District Court in Galveston, court records show. A hearing is tentatively set for Sept. 24 to determine his sentence, court records show.

Defense attorneys plan to argue that Dobbs killed his girlfriend, Kirsten Nicole Fritch, as an act of sudden passion, said Jyll Rekoff, who is representing Dobbs.

If a jury finds he 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 charge, Rekoff said.

“Jesse had nothing to do with those two murders in Baytown,” Rekoff said. “He had no reason to murder her mother and sister. He was put in that situation by Kirsten with no idea what was about to occur. He hasn’t been charged in the other two murders yet. There’s no evidence putting him there at this point.”

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.

The discovery 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.

Baytown police, Texas City police, FBI agents and the Texas Department of Public Safety began searching the land near the bar. More than 36 hours later, on Nov. 10, police found her body.

The medical examiner’s office told a grand jury in February 2017 that Fritch had been stabbed as many as 60 times.

Dobbs told investigators he had killed Fritch, but that it hadn’t been the “real Kirsten,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Fritch died in November 2016 of multiple stab wounds.

Police found Fritch’s body Nov. 10 in a wooded area near Shenanigans Sports Bar in Texas City after a days-long search that started in Baytown after Fritch’s mother and sister were found dead in their home.

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

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(4) comments

Rusty Schroeder

Sudden passion defense, no don't think that's going to work. He stabbed her over 60 times, threw her body in a wooded field, and then went to the closest bar to have some drinks. He deserves a needle in his arm, but hopefully he gets 99 and then convicted as an accomplice in the mom and sisters death. He doesn't deserve any more time in the free world, he's had enough already.

George Croix

Two words:

Robert Durst

Rusty Schroeder

yep. I remember.

Randy Chapman

Let's see; take your "girlfriend" to a secluded wooded area, slaughter her with over 60 stab wounds, change your clothes and go to a bar. I do believe there might have been some premeditation involved here. Nah, Dobbs, you're going to get the 99. Oh, and it must have been some coincidence her sister and mother are dead, and he was in possession of Mom's car? Sure, give the sudden passion defense a try! [thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown]

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