The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office re-arraigned Frank William Pawul, 32, on Feb. 6 for the murder of Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney. He was previously charged with first degree murder. Now he is charged with aggravated first degree murder, the most serious charge in Washington State, and the only charge that is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of release.
“In January I promised that we would hold fully accountable everyone involved in the murder of Deputy Dan McCartney. Today was another step toward fulfilling that promise,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
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 and to the left of 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.
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 broke in and demanded money. Both were wearing masks and armed with handguns and “bowie” style knives.
At 11:30 p.m., 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. A short time later, he called out “shots fired.” No further transmissions were made.
Other deputies responded to the area and found McCartney unresponsive. McCartney was transported to St. Joseph’s hospital, and was later pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.
Deputies also located the body of Henry Carden, also unresponsive. Carden sustained several gunshot wounds, including a gunshot wound to the head, which was self-inflicted. He died from his wounds.
Officers secured the area to locate the other suspect. The next morning, an officer reported a male matching the description of the second suspect walked to his traffic control point. That person was later identified as Pawul. Pawul was taken into custody.
Pawul is also charged with kidnapping in the first degree, unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree, and conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.