Crime

West Richland murder suspect may have strangled woman during sex

West Richland murder suspect in court

Murder suspect William Cyrus Lee, 24, make his preliminary appearance before Judge Bruce Spanner in Benton County Superior Court.
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Murder suspect William Cyrus Lee, 24, make his preliminary appearance before Judge Bruce Spanner in Benton County Superior Court.

A 53-year-old woman died Sunday in a West Richland home, apparently strangled during sex.

Alisa J. Brewer was found with a leather belt tightened around her neck, according to West Richland police Officer Jared Paulsen.

The Pasco woman’s body was on the floor leading from a bedroom into the hallway, Paulsen wrote in a court document.

The apartment is the home of William C. Lee, who now is jailed on suspicion of killing Brewer.

Lee, 24, appeared Monday in Benton County Superior Court.

Judge Bruce Spanner found probable cause to hold him for second-degree murder and second-degree assault, both with allegations of domestic violence.

Bail was set at $500,000, with defense attorney Caleb DiPeso withholding a request for lowering that amount until a later hearing.

Prosecutors have until Wednesday to charge Lee or release him from jail. He has no known criminal history in Washington state.

Officer Paulsen said he was dispatched to 71 S. 39th Ave. at 1:20 a.m. after a 911 caller said he had killed a woman and was going to kill himself, according to court documents.

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A dispatcher advised Paulsen that they could hear the man, later identified as Lee, loading a gun while on the phone.

Lee stayed on the phone with the dispatcher while police responded. He said he had strangled the woman, he “was positive she was dead,” and identified her, the court document said.

Lee was still inside the apartment when police and Tri-City Regional SWAT team members arrived.

Paulsen said at one point he heard a gunshot inside the home.

Lee told a dispatcher he had fired a shot into the ceiling, and repeated that he was going to kill himself, the document said.

The Fairway Manor Apartments are single-story units built two years ago at the corner of 39th and Fallon Drive, near the West Richland Golf Course.

Lee surrendered “after substantial negotiations with dispatch and a SWAT negotiator.”

That’s when Paulsen and other officers went into the home.

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A 53-year-old Pasco woman was found dead Sunday in a West Richland’s man apartment. William C. Lee is being held on suspicion of murder and assault, both with allegations of domestic violence.

Paulsen said it appeared Brewer’s body was pulled from the bedroom into the hallway.

She was naked had a black eye and her face was swollen, bruised and covered in blood, he wrote.

Paulsen believed the injuries to her face were caused while she was still alive, and that she was strangled during sex or sexual contact, said court documents.

He said in court documents they are investigating whether the death was the result of erotic asphyxiation, which intentionally limits blood to the brain in an attempt to intensify arousal.

An autopsy is planned Tuesday.

Brewer, who had lived in her Pasco home since 2010, worked as an administrative assistant and office manager for several different agencies and contractors in the area.

In a news release Monday, police said they are continuing their investigation into the circumstances of Brewer’s death and the relationship between her and Lee.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the West Richland Police Department at 509-967-3425.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer
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