Crime

Friends, relatives of slain wife upset with JBLM soldier’s bail reduction

Some friends and relatives of a young woman shot to death by her soldier husband said Friday they are upset that a Pierce County court commissioner reduced the soldier’s bail this week.

“It comes a shock to us,” said James Peltier, whose daughter Micaela was close friends with Tarrah “Danielle” Nemetz. “It just seems crazy that someone who killed somebody like that could be out walking the streets.”

Skylar Nemetz, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 19-year-old wife. He’s pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege Nemetz shot his wife in the back of the head Oct. 16 as she sat at the computer in the couple’s Lakewood apartment because he was angry that another man had bought liquor for her while he was away on a training operation.

Nemetz has given multiple accounts of what happened but has called the shooting an accident, court records show.

He originally was ordered jailed in lieu of $1 million while he awaits trial, but his defense attorney, Michael Stewart, made a motion this week to reduce the bail to $250,000.

Stewart submitted more than 30 letters from relatives and friends of Nemetz in support of the requested bail reduction. The letters described Nemetz as a fine soldier and husband.

Court Commissioner Meagan Foley on Thursday agreed to reduce Nemetz’s bail to $350,000 and ordered that he be confined to Joint Base Lewis-McChord should he post bail. Nemetz remained in jail Friday.

That decision did not sit well with some of Danielle Nemetz’s loved ones.

“All of them are furious,” said Brian Shumard, the victim’s second cousin. “What’s changed in a week? Forty letters?”

Shumard’s mother, Vera Shumard, also expressed frustration.

“Even if it was an accident, she’s not with us anymore, and it’s all due to his actions,” she said.

Danielle Nemetz was a native of McKinleyville, California, and a cheerleader at McKinleyville High School before marrying Skylar Nemetz. They moved to Pierce County so he could pursue his military career at JBLM.

She had many friends in McKinleyville and was known for her optimism despite losing her mother and father at a young age, Vera Shumard said.

“This girl went through so much,” she said. “Now this.”

Danielle Nemetz loved her husband and dreamed of one day opening her own nail salon, Peltier said.

“She was like our daughter,” he said. “This thing has just been devastating to us.”

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