Crime

Woman pleads guilty in fatal shooting of Pierce County sheriff’s deputy Daniel McCartney

A woman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Tuesday for her role in the death of Pierce County sheriff’s deputy Daniel McCartney.

Samantha Dawn Jones, 31, is one of three people charged in connection to McCartney’s death.

Jones is scheduled to be sentenced later this year. Her standard sentencing range will be roughly 22 to 30 years in prison.

McCartney, 34, was shot Jan. 7, 2018 while responding to a home invasion in the Frederickson area.

Jones’ plea paperwork said she and others discussed getting property that belonged to her back from someone who lived at that residence, but she was not aware there was going to be a robbery or that the others were armed. The statement said she mourned the deputy’s death.

The shooter, Frank Pawul, now 34, was sentenced to life without parole in 2018 after he pleaded guilty to aggravated first-degree murder and other crimes.

Court records give this account of what happened:

Jones traded an electronic tablet for heroin, but the dealer withheld some of the drugs because Jones did not have the charger.

One message Jones allegedly sent online after asked an acquaintance about “robbing someone for their dope and money.”

She allegedly asked another friend about joining a “rescue mission” with a “possible risky getaway.”

Ultimately Jones went to the dealer’s home with Pawul and 35-year-old Henry Carden — men who had allegedly robbed drug dealers together before.

Brenda Troyer, Pawul’s girlfriend, drove them. Pawul allegedly told Troyer he was going there to buy a car.

Troyer, 54, has pleaded guilty to first-degree rendering criminal assistance and is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

She and Jones dropped the men off then left.

Carden and Pawul broke into the home and took cash, drugs and other items from the people inside, including Jones’ tablet.

The residents called 911, McCartney responded, and soon radioed, “Shots fired.”

Other deputies arrived and found McCartney with a fatal gunshot wound. Carden was found nearby with multiple gunshot wounds, including a self-inflicted one that killed him.

Investigators have said ballistics test results showed 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.

McCartney is survived by his wife and three young sons.

Speaking to reporters following Pawul’s sentencing, Cierra McCartney asked that her husband not be forgotten.

“Dan was a hero and should always be remembered as such,” she said.

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Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.
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