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Prosecutors up charge against man accused of murdering Pierce County deputy

Frank Pawul

TACOMA, Wash – New charges were filed Tuesday afternoon in the death of Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney.

McCartney was killed in the line of duty in early January while responding to a home invasion. McCartney was a navy veteran, a husband and father to three small boys.

One suspect was also killed on scene and until now, police thought he was the one who fired the deadly shots. But now police say one of the surviving suspects was actually the man who shot and killed McCartney.

Prosecutors upped their charge against Frank Pawul, from first degree murder to aggravated first degree murder, which is the most serious charge in Washington.

Investigators at the Washington State Patrol crime lab say ballistics evidence prove Pawul was the trigger man.

Pawul entered a Pierce County courtroom Tuesday without much emotion on his face as county prosecutors and detectives watched from the gallery.

They were all there to see the wheels of justice slowly turn McCartney.

“This is about him, his family, the people in the department and the department mission,” said Sheriff Paul Pastor. “You think that matters to me? Oh yes, it definitely does.”

Pawul faces a slew of charges including conspiracy, unlawful possession of a firearm, kidnapping, murder and now aggravated murder for his alleged role in what police say was a botched home invasion robbery inside a Frederickson house last month.

Investigators say forensic evidence shows the bullet that killed McCartney was fired from a gun found about 175 feet away from his body. Investigators say the bullet likely came from one of two guns Pawul may have used during the alleged shootout with McCartney.

“In January, I promised that we would hold fully accountable everyone who was involved in the murder of deputy McCartney,” said county prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Today was another step toward fulfilling that promise. We’ve charged aggravated murder, which is the most serious charge supported by the law and by the facts and also the most serious charge in Washington State.”

Another man, Henry Carden, was killed by during the incident. Two more people also face charges in connection to the case, including Brenda Troyer. Police say she was supposed to be the getaway driver. Police say Samantha Jones was a passenger in the getaway car.
Both women are being held in jail on $2 million bail.

Meanwhile on Tuesday the judge ordered Pawul be held in jail without bail – since the new charge of aggravated murder could become a death penalty case.

“We’re going to take this one step at a time. And as you can imagine, this is tremendously important to us because we lost one of our own and it’s important to us to see that justice is done behind that and correct convictions take place,” said Pastor.

Pawul and the other two surviving suspects have all plead not guilty to charges.

Even though this new charge against Pawul could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted, Governor Jay Inslee has issued a moratorium on capital punishment cases.