Two charged in deputy's death

By Pat Jenkins

The Dispatch

Authorities say the shooting death of a Pierce County Sheriff Department deputy was the work of three people.

Two of them are alive to face murder charges that were filed last Thursday against Frank William Pawul, 32, and Brenda Kaye Troyer, 52. They’re accused of murder in the first degree. Pawul was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

Prosecutors said Pawul and a second man were driven by Troyer on Jan. 7 to a Frederickson neighborhood, where the men tried to rob the occupants of a house described by police as a “drug house.” When the residents called 9-1-1 a half-hour before midnight to report intruders, deputy Daniel McCartney responded to the scene. He found Pawul and Henry Carden, chased them on foot when they jumped out of windows and ran, and exchanged shots in a brief gun battle that ended with McCartney and Carden dead.

Pawul was captured the next day and Troyer was tracked down and arrested 24 hours later. After pleading not guilty during their appearances last Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court to formally face prosecutors’ charges, bail was set at $5 million for Pawul and $2 million for Troyer. They’re being held at the county jail.

“We will hold accountable everyone who is responsible for the murder of deputy McCartney,” said Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist.

McCartney will be memorialized today during a public service at Pacific Lutheran University.

Lindquist’s office and police gave this summary of the events that led to McCartney’s death and the arrests of Pawul and Troyer:

At 11:24 p.m. on Jan. 7, residents at 20012 45th Ave. Ct. E. reported two men had broken into their home. The suspects, who demanded money, were wearing masks and armed with handguns and large knives. The residents – three adults and two children -- were taken to a bedroom and held at gunpoint while the intruders searched the house. One of the adults escaped through a window and called 9-1-1.

At 11:30, McCartney radioed that he had arrived at the scene. Three minutes later, he reported he was running after the suspects. Moments later, he called out “shots fired,” his last radio transmission.

Other deputies found McCartney, 34, fatally wounded by a shot to his neck. He was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound after being rushed to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.

Deputies at the scene of the shooting also found the body of Carden, 35, who had been shot several times. One gunshot wound was to his head and came from his gun, either accidentally or intentionally.

In a search of the area, deputies found a safe and a backpack that were stolen from the residence. A bear spray canister was near McCartney’s body.

At 8:10 the next morning, a man who was wearing a bear-spray holster on his hip and matched the description of the suspect who escaped was spotted by police walking a few blocks from where the shooting and robbery happened. The man, who emerged from a wooded area, was Pawul. He told officers he was walking from his girlfriend’s house, who officers learned was Troyer. She was arrested Jan. 9.

More pieces leading to charges were put together through the suspects’ cell phones. Investigators found text messages between Pawul and Troyer about Troyer picking him up, police roadblocks, and the shooting of McCartney and Carden. Detectives traced the path of Pawul’s phone near the robbery scene until the approximate time McCartney was chasing suspects. More cell phone data showed Troyer’s phone remained in the area where she reported dropping off Pawul and Carden before the robbery, then left when McCartney arrived at the house.

According to the Sheriff Department, the house was frequented by heroin users and dealers and was targeted by the suspects for the cash and drugs there. Deputies answered calls there 18 times in 2016 and 2017. They were for a variety of incidents, including a 3-year-old who reportedly had walked away from the house but was in the bathroom, a dispute between roommates, and homeless people occupying the residence.

On the night of Jan. 7, the robbery suspects were “looking to steal drugs or money,” said Sheriff Department spokesman Ed Troyer, who added that the adults living at the “drug house” made it a target for crime, including the fatal shooting of the deputy.

Troyer isn’t related to Brenda Troyer, the defendant in that incident.


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