TACOMA -- A 32-year-old man charged with murder told detectives that as he was stabbing a Key Peninsula woman to death in her home in July that she said, "Forgive him God, 'cause he doesn't know what he's doing," court documents showed Thursday.
Duwayne Lance Skillman was charged Thursday with first-degree murder in Pierce County Superior Court. He pleaded not guilty and ordered to be held on $2 million bail.
He is accused of killing Lynn Cooper, 69, in her Key Peninsula home on 144th Street KPN in early July.
According to court records, he told sheriff's detectives in interviews after his arrest that he went to Cooper's home, armed with a knife, to burglarize it and trade any worthwhile items for drugs. He said he thought the home was abandoned and was in a bedroom when Cooper awoke from a sleep and startled him.
He told detectives that, when startled, he "turned around and stabbed out with my knife," the court records said. A struggle ensued, with Cooper fighting for her life. Skillman told detectives the struggle lasted for several minutes but then he stabbed her to death in the neck and torso, according to court records. As he was stabbing her, he said Cooper asked God to forgive him.
He told detectives he then stole several items form her home and later traded them for drugs, court documents said. He added that he hid his knife in a woodpile at a relative's home.
That relative told detectives that Stillman had "bragged" about stealing Cooper's Ford Explorer, and the relative later found a knife with dried blood on it and turned it in to police. DNA evidence determined that the knife had dried blood on it from Cooper -- and that led to Stillman's arrest in November.
“I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hurt her,” neighbor William Kirby said to Q13 FOX News shortly after Cooper's body was found. She "was always nice and waving hi.”
Neighbors also said this kind of crime is unusual for their isolated community.