Friday, August 31, 2012

Spanaway, WA: Spanaway man pleads 'not guilty' to killing wife, daughter

A Spanaway man who police say confessed to killing his wife and daughter has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated first-degree murder.
Dean Holmes, 40, appeared in Pierce County Superior Court Thursday for arraignment.

Holmes is accused of shooting his wife of 12 years, Christy Holmes, while she lay sleeping in their bed early Tuesday morning. He then woke his 11-year-old daughter, Violet Holmes, and a friend who was sleeping over. After dropping the friend off at her home near Auburn, Holmes allegedly pulled over on the side of the road and shot Violet several times as she lay sleeping in the back seat.

Holmes stopped at the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant to eat as his daughter lay dead in the vehicle, according to court documents.

"The defendant told investigators that he had put his family in dire financial straits and he was afraid his wife would leave him when she found out he had been lying about their finances," the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. "The defendant killed his daughter because he reasoned that she would be unable to cope with her mother's death and her father's imprisonment."

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist called the murders "shockingly violent and senseless."

The morning after the murders, police say Holmes turned himself in at the Pierce County Jail. He told investigators he "repeatedly placed the gun" to his own head to commit suicide, but was unable to pull the trigger.

Prosecutors will have 30 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

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