"He swore on his family and kids he would kill me," were the words written in a protective order affidavit by Kathryn Dean in October 2020. By April 2022, she was dead.
Police responding to a call about a domestic dispute arrived to a Chesapeake, Virginia, home to find the body of a woman who had been shot and killed. She was later identified as Kathryn Dean, and her husband of about three years, Ben Wynkoop, was arrested hours later.
Wynkoop was convicted of second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, armed burglary and violation of a protective order in June of 2023.
Prior to the start of the trial, he pleaded not guilty to seven separate charges related to his recently estranged wife's death, and his attorneys said the man declined plea deals he was offered. He claimed self-defense during the trial, saying he believed Kathryn Dean was reaching for a gun in her purse when he shot her.
Kathryn Dean's protection order against Wynkoop was in place just two weeks before her murder.
Her family members say she was desperate to keep her estranged husband away from her, but he continued to attack, harass and stalk her, frequently threatening he would commit suicide as a form of control.
Scripps News Norfolk uncovered four separate criminal complaints Kathryn Dean wrote describing violence, threats of death and abuse at the hands of her husband on four different occasions dating back to 2019.
She wrote: "He choked me until I stopped breathing." In another incident, she wrote: "He kicked and broke my end table then told me he was going to kill me." And she repeatedly wrote that he said he was going to kill himself and her.
Wynkoop also took out protective orders on his wife claiming she abused him, and had her arrested, but charges were dropped.
Kathryn Dean's family agrees they want Wynkoop to be put behind bars for the rest of his life when he is sentenced on Nov. 27.
Her daughter, 22-year-old Katelyn Dean, said at first she liked the "charming" man her mom was dating, but as time went on, problems intensified. She said he was not the nice man she originally thought he was and watched her mother continue to try to get help for the abuse.
"You hear your mom say she's scared, she's going to die, and then she does," Katelyn Dean said. "It was something I was always scared of happening, and something that she said was going to happen because nothing was preventing it from happening, even though she kept asking for help."
The woman's daughter remembers her mom as having a big heart, and someone who was constantly helping and thinking of others.
Other loved ones say the Texas native was a beautiful, strong mother, veteran and provider for her family.
Her ex-husband Larry Dean, with whom she continued to be best friends, said she was a wonderful person and mother who was loved by so many people. And Connie Dean, whom Kathryn set up with her ex-husband, had similar fond memories.
"She was loud. She was funny. She was fun. She was amazing," Connie Dean said.
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