Special Reports

Brame investigation: State Patrol today will give prosecutors the results of its criminal investigation

After four months of investigation, the Washington State Patrol will hand over its criminal investigation of the David Brame case to state prosecutors today.

"The active investigation is concluded," State Patrol spokeswoman Nelsa Brodie said Wednesday. "Basically, the entire case will be turned over."

Details about what the State Patrol investigators found and any potential criminal charges were not released.

The state Attorney General's Office will review the file and decide what charges - if any - should be filed, said Gary Larson, a spokesman for Attorney General Christine Gregoire.

"Whatever they send us, we'll look," Larson said. "We'll be reviewing this for possible criminal charges and, in light of that, whether or not any additional work needs to be done."

State Patrol detectives have been investigating potential criminal misconduct by Catherine Woodard, the Tacoma assistant police chief named to head the department in the hours after Brame fatally shot his wife, Crystal, and then committed suicide April 26.

On April 11, Woodard accompanied Brame to pick up his children at the home of Crystal Brame's parents in a gated Gig Harbor community.

Later that night, Crystal Brame called 911 and told a dispatcher that her husband and Woodard entered the gated development under "false pretenses." She also said Woodard had threatened and intimidated her in the past.

In the week after the shootings, then-City Manager Ray Corpuz placed Woodard on paid administrative leave and asked the State Patrol to look into the April 11 incident.

Woodard has said divorce lawyers for Brame and his wife agreed at an April 10 hearing that Woodard should accompany the chief to pick up his children. Woodard was one of a handful of Tacoma police officials who attended the court hearing with Brame.

Investigators who searched Brame's apartment the day of the shootings also recovered four pages of notes in Woodard's handwriting. The notes appear to be transcripts of conversations between Woodard and Crystal Brame, sources have said.

They include a statement attributed to Crystal Brame, saying her husband must stop "sending death threats."

John Wolfe, Woodard's attorney, would not discuss or confirm contact between State Patrol investigators and his client. But he said Woodard should not face criminal charges.

"We don't believe she committed any crimes," he said. "We would hope that the investigator's report would reflect that."

In addition to reviewing Woodard's actions, the State Patrol also took over the investigation into a Tacoma police officer's allegation that Brame offered to promote her in exchange for sex. The officer filed a sexual harassment complaint about the alleged conduct with the city after the shootings.

As the State Patrol investigated the allegations and conducted interviews, detectives turned up other bits of information and tips that they've passed along to the FBI's public corruption squad.

"The FBI got stuff outside of our scope," Brodie said.

The federal agency is looking into possible public corruption - broadly defined as any time public officials abuse their position for personal gain - in the City of Tacoma.

"We continue to maintain our contact with the Washington State Patrol concerning this matter," FBI Special Agent Mark Ferbrache said Wednesday.

Staff writers Jason Hagey and Sean Robinson contributed to this report.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268

stacey.mulick@mail.tribnet.com

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