White Army Ranger Gets 20 Years For Beating Black Security Guard To Death

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A former army ranger received the minimum sentence for murdering a Black security guard in a vicious beating in Washington, King5 News reports.

29-year-old Army Ranger Spc. Patrick Philip Byrne was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week in the 2021 fatal beating of Denise Smith, 41, who was working as a security guard at a downtown building at the time of the attack.

Byrne pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this year for beating and choking Smith to death. He received the minimum sentence for the charge.

The fatal beating unfolded on July 17, 2021, while Byrne was out drinking with his friends, according to court documents. Before encountering Smith, Byrne was punched in the face during a bar fight. He left the bar and approached the building where Smith was working. Smith motioned for Byrne to leave the area, but he refused.

When the security guard opened the front door of the building, Byrne attempted to barge past her. He then launched a nearly 10-minute attack against the guard, records state.

Byrne allegedly "dragged Smith by her hair, beat her with his fists, stabbed her in the face with her keys, and used them to try to gouge out the woman’s eyes," King5 News reports. "He then flipped Smith onto her stomach and choked her until she went limp, then continued to choke her for at least another minute," per the outlet.

A coworker found Smith beaten and unconscious. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Surveillance video captured the attack launched by Byrne.

During his sentencing, Byrne's lawyers argued that the army ranger previously suffered from multiple serious head injuries, which they said could've contributed to why he attacked Smith.

“He was out with his friends or fellow Rangers, basically getting intoxicated to the point of creating a disturbance, and that was voluntary,” Judge Stanley J. Rumbaugh said.

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