UPDATED: Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:55 p.m.
The victim's boyfriend William Barry Selley has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder on Monday, The News Tribune reported. Kathryn Southward died on Oct. 5 after sustaining serious injuries on Sept. 23.
Selley was initially charged for assaulting Southward in September.
A Gig Harbor man is in Pierce County Jail for first-degree assault and second-degree murder after his girlfriend died on Friday after sustaining serious injuries to her body.
Kathryn Southward, 29, died on Friday, Oct. 5, after sustaining significant injuries including a small brain bleed, a broken bone in the back of her neck, a collapsed lung, broken ribs, failing liver and a possible broken wrist, according to the Pierce County Superior Court documents.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled her death as homicide due to blunt force injury.
On Sept. 27, William Barry Selley called 911 requesting medical aid for his girlfriend, who hit her head and was unresponsive.
When medics and the Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Selley’s home in the 7000 block of 38th Street NW, they found the woman on a sofa with significant contusions all over her body.
Documents stated that she was incoherent and mumbled when authorities asked her how she was injured. Medics transported her to the trauma center at Tacoma General Hospital.
Selley said on Sunday, Sept. 23, they returned home after drinking heavily at a bar around 1 a.m. He said they fell down in the driveway when they got out of the car. Southward was living with Selley at the time of the incident.
The 41-year-old man said his girlfriend fell over a stepladder and could not get up so he dragged her into the house.
When Selley got up at 5 a.m., he found her sleeping on the dog’s bed. He tried to get her up to go to bed, but she fell backward and hit the back of her head on the television console.
Selley said he was home taking care of Southward while she stayed on the couch for three days. He also said did not take her for treatment because they do not have insurance.
On Sept. 26, Southward vomited a dark substance and was incoherent so Selley brought his mother to the house, who advised him to call 911.
Hospital staff said Southward had three broken ribs, a partially collapsed lung and other internal organ damage. She also had bruises all over her body in various stages of healing.
Police met with Southward at the hospital and notice bruising to her head, face and eyes. She answered their questions with “I don’t know” and was unable to sign any paperwork.
Her family members advised there has been a history of violence between Selley and Southward.
When forensics arrived to take photographs of Southward’s injuries, she was uncooperative and said she was not pressing charges, according to court documents.
Selley told authorities that Southward was intoxicated and fell causing her injuries. He also stated they crashed to the ground together. He picked her up but dropped her again. He thought he may have dropped her a third time prior to dragging her in the house.
During the investigation, Selley denied assaulting Southward and said he did not remember anything else that happened until 5 a.m. that day.
When the detective met with Southward in the intensive care unit, he noted that he had never seen a victim so badly injured that was not deceased.
She repeated said she did not know or remember what happened. She said she did not want to press charges but admitted Selley assaulted her before.
During their conversation, the detective used a ruse and told her that Selley had confessed. As a result, Southward told police that Selley had used his fists to assault her but denied him hitting her with an object or threw her against anything.
Selley is being held on a $500,000 bond for his assault charge and $1 million for his murder charge, according to Pierce County Corrections Booking. He has not been arraigned for his murder charge.