February 11, 2009 in City

Man impersonated wife online after killing her, police say

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Jesse Tinsley photo

Police officers stand in a yard next to Ark Commercial Roofing Inc., 11505 E. Trent Ave., where Becky Brosnan’s body was found Tuesday. Her husband, accused of murdering her, worked at the business.
(Full-size photo)

Police say a Spokane man accused of bludgeoning his wife to death tried to make it look like she was still alive for several days after dumping her body next to his workplace.

Uriah Brosnan, a technical school valedictorian, told police Tuesday he sent electronic messages from Becky Brosnan’s personal accounts, including e-mail and MySpace, after he killed her during a fight in his office at a roofing business.

Becky Brosnan, 32, was found beaten to death early Tuesday, 13 days after Uriah Brosnan’s first post on her MySpace account, Spokane police said. That post stated: “I need to find me. I can’t trust anyone right now. Getting away for some me time.”

He was in Spokane County Jail, accused of first-degree murder. His bail was set at $1 million.

Becky Brosnan, a certified nursing assistant for nearly a decade, “was just coming out of her shell after a controlling marriage,” said her boyfriend, Dan Bascetta, his voice cracking.

“She was a simple girl,” Bascetta said in an interview. “She liked to scrapbook. She was into shoes and purses. Every time she came over, she had a different purse to match her shirt.”

The Brosnans, married in 1997, were going through a divorce. Their children – a 10-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl – were a point of contention, family members and police say. “The more she fought for her children, the harder it was,” Bascetta said.

Becky Brosnan went to meet her husband to discuss the children Jan. 28. Uriah Brosnan had sent her a text message asking her to meet him at Ark Commercial Roofing Inc., 11505 E. Trent Ave., where he worked as an accountant, according to an arrest document.

The conversation led to an argument, Uriah Brosnan told police. He said that his wife pushed him in the chest and that he picked up a hammer and hit her in the head. When she continued to fight, he picked up a metal bar and hit her numerous times, Brosnan told police.

“Before I knew it, she was dead,” he said.

Uriah Brosnan bound her hands and feet, wrapped her in black plastic secured with duct tape, and dragged her out of the building, according to the interview with police.

He left the body behind a chain link fence among composite shingles and wood scraps, next to the business, police said. Brosnan cleaned his office and threw away his bloody clothes, police said.

During the incident, Brosnan’s boss, Tom Wilson, stopped by the business and noticed a light on, police said. Brosnan refused to open his office door for his boss, claiming to be alone and doing paperwork.

The next day, Jan. 29, Becky Brosnan failed to show up for a family gathering. Her stepmother called police to say the absence was unusual.

Meanwhile, Uriah Brosnan had hacked into his wife’s e-mail and MySpace page, and used her cell phone to send text messages, police said.

Police determined the MySpace posting had been made from Uriah Brosnan’s computer. He accessed her MySpace page 38 times from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6, a forensic expert determined. On Feb. 2, a text was sent from Becky Brosnan’s cell phone to her stepmother saying, “I’m OK.”

One text message was sent to Bascetta saying she was out of town and that her car was at her husband’s house.

When Becky Brosnan had been missing for five days, the Spokane Major Crimes unit began investigating. Detectives interviewed Uriah Brosnan and his girlfriend, Crystle Sellers, on Thursday, and grew suspicious when his story varied, said Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

Brosnan was fired Friday, police said.

Police searched Brosnan’s workplace Monday, where they found blood on an office chair and drag marks. A forensics team collecting evidence there early Tuesday discovered the body, said Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson.

Said Bascetta: “This happening was all in the back of our minds, but we never thought he was capable.”

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