The husband of a Puyallup woman who was found dead in a Tacoma motel last week has been charged with her murder.
Tony Barrett was charged Monday with first degree murder in the death of Sara Barrett. An autopsy determined she died from asphyxiation and her death was characterized as a homicide. She also suffered two lacerations to her neck.
According to charging documents, Tony Barrett had called friends March 13 saying that his wife was dead and that he had "done something bad." After searching for the Barretts' vehicles, police spotted Barrett driving the wrong-way on a street in Tacoma. He lead police on a high speed chase through Tacoma and Gig Harbor, and after a scuffle with police, he was taken into police custody. Eventually, he told detectives that Sara would probably be found at a local motel, and provided at least two possible locations.
Barrett said he and Sara had went to the hotel. They had sex and then got into a fight, which Barrett said Sara had won. Barrett said he left the motel and left his van at the Walmart on Mountain Highway, but he had left her $100 so she could take a cab back to her car in Dupont. Barrett told police "she was still breathing when I left her.”
Detectives later found Sara Barrett’s body in a room at the Motel 6 in the 1800 block of South 76th Street in Tacoma.
Through interviews and evidence, detectives determined that days before the incident, Sara filed for divorce, which Barrett was aware of. The charging documents also reveal Sara had told her estranged husband's current girlfriend that she was becoming increasingly afraid of him.
Barrett had also purchased the van a day or two prior to the incident. After searching Barrett's van and truck and Sara's car. detectives found several pieces of evidence, including a blanket and pillow with blood on them, a sweatshirt with Sara's keys in the pocket, a ripped tank top, a fixed blade knife, and notes to Barretts' family that he had done something bad. Detectives also found blood on the steering column of Sara's car.
Friends said the couple's 28-year relationship had a violent history. In 2008, Tony Barrett was convicted of assault. He choked and smothered Sara with a pillow, while threatening to kill her. Both Barretts filed restraining orders against each other in 2009. In 2012, Sara filed another restraining order against him, but it was dismissed because of failure to appear in court.
Tony Barrett covered his face during his arraignment Monday. A judge set his bail at $2 million.