Frank William Pawul, 32, pleaded guilty Aug. 3 to the murder of Pierce County Sheriff Deputy Daniel McCartney in January of 2018. Pawul was charged with aggravated first–degree murder, the most serious charge in Washington State. Judge Stephanie Arend sentenced Pawul to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the only possible sentence under the law.
Deputy McCartney’s widow, Cierra, described to the court how one of her three boys put on his dad’s cologne to help remember him.
“Seven months ago, I promised that we would hold accountable everyone involved in the murder of deputy Dan McCartney,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “This guilty plea is a major step toward fulfilling that promise.”
Two co-defendants, Samantha Jones and Brenda Troyer are still awaiting trial. They’re charged with murder in the first degree and kidnapping in the first degree. Trials are scheduled for early next year.
On Jan. 7 at 11:24 p.m., residents in a home on 45th Avenue Court East called 911 after intruders entered their home. Three adults and two children were in the home at the time. The two suspects, wearing masks and armed with handguns and “bowie” style knives, demanded money.
Six minutes later, Deputy Daniel McCartney notified dispatch that he had arrived in the area. Approximately three minutes later, McCartney notified dispatch that he was in foot pursuit of the suspects. Shortly after, he called out “shots fired.” No further transmissions were made.
When other deputies arrived, they found Deputy McCartney unresponsive. Deputy McCartney was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital, and was later pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.
Deputies also located the body of one of the suspects, Henry Carden. He was also deceased. Carden sustained several gunshot wounds, including a gunshot wound to the head, but the second suspect was gone.
The next morning, an officer reported a man matching the description of the second suspect walked to the officer’s traffic control point. That person was later identified as Frank Pawul. He was taken into custody.
Forensic testing indicated that the bullet recovered from McCartney’s body was fired from the gun that was found approximately 175 feet away from the deputy and along the path taken by Pawul as he fled the scene. A shell casing was found about 15 feet away from the deputy’s body. The casing was fired from the same gun.
Messages recovered from Pawul’s cell phone show he was in possession of two .45 caliber Kimber handguns in the days leading up to the murder. The two handguns found at the scene were Kimber .45 caliber weapons.