A Washington soldier is accused of strangling and beating his girlfriend to death with a vacuum cleaner after she refused to have sex with him, Lakewood police said in a probable cause statement.
Private First Class Refugio Sanchez, 33, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 33-year-old mother of two, Angela Cannizzio-Brooks.
Authorities say Sanchez told them that on the evening of November 12 he consumed a six-pack of beer and a shot of Bacardi after returning to his Lakewood home from work at Joint Base Lewis McChord. According to court documents, Sanchez initially claimed that he and Cannizzio argued over him talking on the phone with a female, after which he said he went upstairs.
Sanchez allegedly told authorities he then came downstairs around 4:00 a.m., saw blood on the walls and his girlfriend lying unconscious on the living room floor.
As investigators continued to question Sanchez about the argument, they say he changed his story. According to the probable cause statement, Sanchez allegedly said he and Cannizzio argued over her estranged husband who lives in Connecticut.
During the argument, Sanchez allegedly told authorities Cannizzio struck him first after she refused to have “make-up sex” with him. Sanchez told police he fought back in a rage, striking her two times with a vacuum cleaner, the probable cause statement states.
Investigators say Sanchez told them he then dragged Cannizzio’s limp body down the stairs by her legs. At the bottom of the stairs, Sanchez allegedly slammed her head, face first, into the floor and strangled her to death, according to a press release from the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Cannizzio’s nude body was discovered lying face up in the living room. Responding patrol officers reported her face was bloody, extremely swollen, and her eyes were black and blue. Her cause of death was determined to be strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.
Court documents state Cannizzio’s injuries included a lacerated liver, broken rib, fractured hyoid, and a large laceration to her tongue believed to be caused by her own teeth clenching when the trauma occurred.
Inside the home, police say they found a smashed-up, bloody vacuum and Cannizzio’s bloody clothes in the washing machine.
After being booked into jail, authorities allege Sanchez, who was covered in blood, appeared anxious to take a shower, saying, “I can’t wait to get this out from under my fingernails,” according to the probable cause statement.
HLN reached out to Sanchez’ defense attorney, John McNeish, for a comment, but calls were not returned.
Sanchez remains at the Pierce County Jail on a $1 million bond. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Sanchez, an active duty service member in the U.S. Army, was working towards his criminal justice degree at Everest College in Tacoma, according to court documents. He told authorities he had been deployed to Afghanistan twice since 2010 and suffered from PTSD.