Patrick Byrne, a member of the army, was charged with the death of security guard Denise Smith after he kidnapped and choked her to death.
Smith was found dead in downtown Tacoma. On Friday, Pierce County prosecutors charged U.S. Army Ranger Byrne with two counts of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree kidnapping, The News Tribune reported.
Byrne was intoxicated when he became enraged because Smith would not allow him to enter a building. Smith had just stepped outside after seeing a homeless woman washing in a fountain from the security cameras. That is when Byrne, who had just gotten into a drunken brawl, appeared.
As Smith re-entered the building, Byrne tried to enter, but she told him he could not. He shoved past her, and she grabbed him by the shirt to try to stop him. He then beat her for 8 to 10 minutes straight, court documents detail. He also choked her.
Smith was found the next morning bloody and bludgeoned the next morning shortly after 6 a.m. by a coworker and pronounced dead on the scene by paramedics. It was only her fifth shift as a new security guard.
“During the defendant’s lengthy attack on the victim, she repeatedly tried to fight back, and she tried to get away, but the defendant grabbed her each time and prevented her from fleeing,” court records say.
Detectives say Smith was almost unrecognizable because she was no badly beaten. She was five feet tall, and Patrick Byrne is six feet tall.
Security cameras inside the building captured the entire murder.
After the attack, Byrne asked for help, saying he had been stabbed and sexually assaulted. A hospital examination found his claims to be untrue. He was transported from the hospital to jail. The suspected murderer has claimed he does not remember the attack.
“U.S. Army Special Operations Command, as well as the leadership at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, are cooperating fully with the local law enforcement agencies in the ongoing investigation,” army officials said about the incident.
Byrne is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Judge Garold Johnson has set his bail at $2 million.