Rohnert Park man sentenced to 7 years for manslaughter of romantic rival

ROHNERT PARK (BCN) — A Rohnert Park man was sentenced Thursday morning to seven years in prison for the stabbing death of a romantic rival two years ago. Daniel Dieters, 27, was convicted in November of voluntary manslaughter for the killing of Roy “R.J.” Kauwe, 22, in Kauwe’s Rohnert Park apartment on March 20, 2014.

Dieters testified he was afraid of Kauwe, who had a knife collection in his bedroom, and stabbed him in self-defense. The stabbing happened soon after Dieters learned his girlfriend Kayla Lindsay and Kauwe became a couple, according to trial testimony.

Lindsay warned Kauwe in a text message that Dieters was either going to kill him or her where she lived, according to prosecution testimony at the trial.

Kauwe was stabbed seven times and Dieters was arrested at the scene. He faced a maximum term of 12 years in prison for manslaughter and use of a knife.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite said the fatal stabbing was “an intentional killing for whatever reason,” and Dieters took advantage of his position of trust when he went to Kauwe’s apartment.

“I cannot let go of the fact that you were twice the size of the victim,” Thistlethwaite said.

Kauwe was 5 feet 3 inches and 155 pounds, according to his family. Dieters is stocky and at least 6 feet tall.

Defense attorney Joseph Bisbiglia told the judge Dieters was depressed and suicidal at the time. Bisbiglia characterized Dieters as a “gentle giant.”

“What you see is what you get with Mr. Dieters. He is a good, young man,” Bisbiglia said.

After the sentencing, the defense attorney said he had hoped Dieters would get probation or four years in prison because he showed remorse, called 911 that night and acknowledged his guilt right away.

Deputy District Attorney Tashawn Sanders argued for the maximum 12-year term. Sanders told the court the crime was callous in light of the seven stab wounds to Kauwe’s neck, and happened seven minutes after Lindsay sent Kauwe the text about Dieters.

“Ten minutes later, R.J. was dead,” Sanders said.

Kauwe’s family members said Dieters lied and faked empathy for Kauwe during his testimony.

“R.J. died because he let Daniel Dieters into his apartment so they could talk,” Kauwe’s mother Joyce said.

She said Dieters is “scary” when he is annoyed and should be sent to prison.

Dieter’s mother Kelly Dieters-Blaney screamed “No, no,” when Thistlethwaite announced the seven-year prison term and she was escorted by bailiffs from the courtroom.

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