Judge orders some documents released regarding Pierce County deputy's affair

Staff writerOctober 18, 2013 

Lawyers for a murder defendant hoping to discredit a Pierce County sheriff’s sergeant by using an Internal Affairs investigation to discredit him on the stand won a small victory Friday when a judge ordered the department to release some documents.

Superior Court Judge Linda Lee asked prosecutors to hand over particular documents to the defense by Monday.

Neither deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen nor defense attorney Les Tolzin said they know what information is contained in the documents or how it will affect the upcoming trial of Tyler Savage, 21.

“The fact that we’re getting anything makes me kind of happy but I don’t know yet what I’m getting,” Tolzin said after the judge’s ruling.

Savage has pleaded not guilty to first-degree aggravated murder for the 2010 rape and killing of 16-year-old Kimberly Daily, a developmentally disabled South Hill girl who was missing for days before being found in a wooded area near her home.

Although the Internal Affairs investigation of Sgt. Denny Wood does not stem from that case, Wood helped investigate Daily’s death. The defense has argued that the accusations of misconduct speak to his character and could undermine his testimony during Savage’s trial.

The Sheriff’s Department is looking into allegations that Wood developed a personal relationship with the widow of a homicide victim in a 2012 case he was investigating.

Wood admitted he used his department-issued Blackberry and personal smartphone to communicate with the woman between August and December 2012, according to court documents. That is when he claims he ended the relationship.

Another agency is now investigating the 2012 homicide case, which remains unsolved.

Before ordering certain documents released to the defense Friday, Lee noted that the Internal Affairs investigation is ongoing and tied to the unrelated homicide case. That is in part why she ordered the documents sealed to everybody except the attorneys and investigators.

Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer on Friday said no action has been taken against Wood and that the “chain of command” is reviewing the investigation.

“There will be no action until we go through our process,” Troyer said, adding that “We’re nearing the end.”

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