Refugio Sanchez Jr., drunk for the first time in months and angry that his girlfriend refused to have makeup sex, severely beat her with a vacuum cleaner and then strangled her in their Lakewood apartment, according to court documents.
Police found Angela Cannizzio-Brooks’ nude and battered body in the living room after a frantic Sanchez called 911 early Wednesday to report he’d found his girlfriend unconscious.
On Thursday, Sanchez, 32, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. Pierce County Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.
The couple reportedly met in rehab and moved in together months ago. Although Cannizzio-Brooks has two children, neither were home when she died.
Charging papers gave this account:
During interviews with detectives, Sanchez allegedly changed his story multiple times.
He admitted to having several beers and a shot of rum — the first time he’d drank in more than three months, he said — before arguing with Cannizzio-Brooks because he was on the phone with another woman. Sanchez said he then fell asleep and awoke to find his girlfriend unconscious and covered in blood, charging papers show.
When detectives pressed him, Sanchez allegedly admitted to the attack, which started in their bedroom. He then said it was a dispute over Cannizzio-Brooks’ estranged husband.
He told police “she had rebuffed his attempts at ‘makeup sex’ and that she had struck him first and then he countered in a rage,” according to the court records. Sanchez allegedly hit her twice with an upright vacuum cleaner and dragged her downstairs to the living room, where he smashed her face into the floor.
Cannizzio-Brooks suffered a lacerated liver, broken rib and fractured neck bone, among other injuries, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Her cause of death was determined to be strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.
Police noted Sanchez was covered in blood and even had it embedded in his toenails.
He is a soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord with 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and deployed with the Stryker brigade for 10 months in 2012, according to Army records. He also deployed with the brigade for five months in 2009, when it was called 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He is from Plainview, Texas, and was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Sept. 2008. He told detectives he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653