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Frank Pawul

Frank Pawul

Frank Pawul being led into court

Frank Pawul being led into court

Frank William Pawul is a convicted felon residing in Pierce County, Washington. In August 2018, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering Pierce County Deputy Daniel McCartney, who was a father of three. [1]

Criminal History

Photo of the victim, Pierce County Deputy Daniel McCartney.

Photo of the victim, Pierce County Deputy Daniel McCartney.

On Friday, August 3, 2018, Frank Pawul was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering Pierce County Deputy Daniel McCartney. [1]

Cierra McCartney said the room started spinning when she learned her husband, Pierce County sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney, had been killed.

She remembers standing to try to shake off what she hoped was a nightmare.

At the sentencing of her husband’s killer Friday, she spoke about the family's grief — telling the court about the questions she’s fielded from her three young sons the seven months after their father was murdered. “Why would any person hurt my dad when he just wanted to help and protect people?” And when they were on an airplane: “If we go higher, can we see Dad?” You don’t ever imagine having to answer those questions, McCartney said, or having your son come out of the bathroom wearing his Dad’s cologne, because he misses him.

The boys were 4, 6 and 9 when their 34-year-old father was shot Jan. 7 while responding to a home invasion in the Frederickson, Washington area. McCartney was fatally wounded while chasing two suspects on foot in the 20000 block of 45th Avenue Court East. [1]

Frank William Pawul pleaded guilty Friday, August 3, 2018, to aggravated first-degree murder for the shooting, as well as to first-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and unlawful gun possession.

Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend sentenced Pawul life in prison without the possibility of parole — the only sentence for aggravated murder under state law, unless prosecutors seek the death penalty. “We prefer the death penalty,” McCartney said. “However, to not put my family through any more trauma, we know this is the best option.” Defense lawyer Aaron Talney told the court the prosecution and defense had agreed to recommend the sentence of life without parole.

Pawul’s attorneys had been compiling arguments in recent months about why the death penalty shouldn’t be sought, and Pawul was told it would take some time to finish that report.

“He approached us with the desire to immediately plead guilty and take responsibility for his actions,” Talney said.

Pawul told the court he was sorry for everything, especially that children have been left fatherless.

“I’m not a bad person or a violent person, and I never expected anything like this to happen,” he said.

Pawul said he knew he had to face the consequences of his actions, that he hoped he’d one day be forgiven and that he promised to make the best of his circumstances.

Before the hearing, the courtroom was closed to the public with the proceedings broadcast online, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

At one point, Sheriff Paul Pastor asked for a moment of silent reflection in the courtroom, full of McCartney’s loved ones and fellow deputies.

Arend later granted the request.

“Frank Pawul shot Deputy McCartney from ambush,” Pastor said. “He did so intentionally. He appeared to have no qualms about committing this act of murder.”

Investigators said Pawul and 35-year-old Henry Carden tried to rob residents of a mobile home frequented by drug dealers. The residents called 9-1-1 just before 11:30 p.m., and McCartney was dispatched. He arrived minutes later, and soon radioed: “Shots fired.” Other deputies arrived and found him with a fatal gunshot wound. Carden was close by with multiple gunshot wounds, including a self-inflicted one that killed him. A manhunt found Pawul eight hours later when he tried to get through a police checkpoint. [1]

Investigators have said that the bullet that killed McCartney was fired from a handgun found about 175 feet away, along a trail of belongings they said they could link to Pawul.

Ultimately, 29-year-old Samantha Jones and 52-year-old Brenda Troyer were also arrested.

Prosecutors have said Troyer — no relation to the sheriff’s spokesman — drove Pawul and Carden to the area of the mobile home, and Jones was a passenger in the vehicle.

Both women await trial on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping.


Before sentencing Pawul, Arend said he seemed to understand the error of his ways, and that she was grateful he took responsibility for his actions, which spares McCartney’s family lengthy legal proceedings.

“I see families reliving the trauma over and over again,” the judge said.

The death of a member of law enforcement, Arend said, is something different from the “far too many cases” she sees where fathers and husbands have been killed.

“These are good people that are here to protect us, and without them — well, I don’t want to imagine a world without them, quite frankly,” she said.


Citation Linkseattlepi.comLife sentence for man who killed Pierce County deputy
Aug 5, 2018, 6:24 AM
Citation Linkseattletimes.comPierce County deputy’s killer sentenced to life without parole
Aug 5, 2018, 6:25 AM
Citation Linkseattlepi.com2 charged in death of Pierce County deputy
Aug 5, 2018, 6:26 AM
Citation Linkq13fox.comFrank Pawul sentenced to life in prison with no parole in murder of Deputy Daniel McCartney
Aug 5, 2018, 6:26 AM
Citation Linkthenewstribune.comShooter sentenced for death of Pierce County sheriff’s deputy
Aug 5, 2018, 6:26 AM
Citation Linkthesubtimes.comPawul Re-arraigned on New Charges in Death of Deputy McCartney
Aug 5, 2018, 6:26 AM
Citation Linklinxonline.co.pierce.wa.usCriminal case against Frank Pawul
Aug 5, 2018, 6:27 AM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comPhoto of the victim, Pierce County Deputy Daniel McCartney.[1]
Aug 5, 2018, 7:12 AM
Citation Linkmynorthwest.comFrank Pawul gets heightened murder charge after new evidence
Aug 5, 2018, 7:13 AM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comFrank Pawul being led into court [8]
Aug 5, 2018, 7:13 AM