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Spanaway man allegedly tried to kill himself after fatally shooting wife, daughter

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on Aug. 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
August 30, 2012 1:12 pm

Dean Holmes told investigators he held the same gun to his head he used to kill his wife and daughter, but could not bring himself to pull the trigger.

Instead, he tried to scrub his family’s blood from his clothes. He watched television. He spent hours sitting on Ruston Way staring at Puget Sound. Then he drove to the Pierce County Jail to confess.

Today, Pierce County prosecutors charged the 40-year-old Spanaway house painter with two counts of first-degree aggravated murder with an enhancement for using a firearm. Holmes is set to be arraigned this afternoon.

If convicted, Holmes faces life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Charging papers indicate Holmes was desperate to keep his wife, 41-year-old Kristi Holmes, from discovering he had lied about their dire financial situation because he didn’t want her to leave him again.

He told investigators he shot his wife four times while she slept because “he could not bear to have her again discover his many deceptions, believing she would leave him.”

Then Holmes allegedly drove their 11-year-old daughter Violet around town and shot her while she slept in the backseat.

According to court documents:

Kristi Holmes left her husband of 12 years in December after finding out he had been spending beyond his means and lying to her about it. Although she was angry that he deceived her and still owed the state a significant amount of money for businesses taxes, she returned home a few months later.

Holmes continued lying to his wife, and promised to move them into a more affordable home.

He packed the family’s belongings into boxes and prepared to move Tuesday. Except, there was no new home to move into.

“Holmes said even that was an elaborate ruse on his part,” documents state.

Fearful of what Kristi Holmes would say when she found out he’d lied again, Holmes shot her four times with a .38 caliber revolver he kept in a dresser drawer beside their bed as she slept about 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Then he went into the living room where his daughter Violet and a friend were having a sleepover. A fan apparently obscured the sound of gunshots because both girls were still asleep.

Holmes re-loaded the revolver and threw the empty casings in the garbage. He woke the girls up, put them in his car and took his daughter’s friend home to Auburn.

As they neared their home in the 15500 block of 20th Ave. Ct. E., Holmes pulled over, rolled down the backseat window and got out of the car. Then he shot his daughter multiple times.

“Holmes reasoned his daughter would be unable to cope with her mother’s death and her father’s imprisonment, concluding that dying was somehow in her best interest,” according to charging papers.

Holmes next went to a fast food restaurant and ordered food with Violet’s body lying in the backseat.

When he arrived home, Holmes placed his daughter’s body next to his wife’s body in the bed of the master bedroom and contemplated suicide.

Since he couldn’t pull the trigger again, he went to tell authorities what he had done.

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