your connection to The Boston Globe

Soldier held in wife's death

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- An Army sergeant who recently returned from Iraq was arrested in the death of his wife, and relatives said something caused his mind to snap while he was deployed.

James Kevin Pitts, 31, turned himself in late Wednesday and was booked for investigation of murder, according to booking records.

Tara Pitts, 28, who earlier this month obtained a temporary restraining order against her husband, was found dead Wednesday in her apartment, police said.

Pierce County sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer said she had been dead several hours and an autopsy was planned. Troyer said there was no indication Pitts had been shot or stabbed.

It was not immediately clear whether or not Pitts had a lawyer.

The soldier called his family on Wednesday and confessed, said his brother, Joshua Pitts. "He's been a totally changed person. Obviously it [Iraq] did something to him," he said.

James Pitts is a sergeant first class who operated heavy equipment for the 555th Combat Engineer Group, his brother said. He returned in March after nearly a year in Iraq.

"This has devastated me," Pitts's father, also named James, told KIRO-TV of Seattle. "My son called and said, 'I just killed my wife.' . . . He's not my son anymore. I feel my son is still in Iraq. You can thank George W. Bush for this."

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives