Park Ranger Accused of Killing Wife, Stepchildren

By Jonathan Mummolo and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friends and co-workers of veteran Prince William County park ranger Carrillo Dean knew him as a dedicated employee and doting family man -- the furthest thing from a killer anyone could imagine. But upon learning that Dean was charged yesterday in the slaying of his wife and two stepchildren in their Triangle home, Dean's ex-wife, Sherry Muroski, thought back to troubling conversations during their marriage.

From time to time, Dean -- an otherwise "sweet" and "God-fearing" husband and stepfather -- would speak of his dreams, in which he had "a desire to do violent things to people," said Muroski, of Richmond. "He wouldn't, because he knew it was wrong. But something inside him wanted to do it."

Dean, 44, a senior park ranger with the county's Park Authority, called a non-emergency police number about 10:45 p.m. Thursday, said 1st Sgt. Kim Chinn, a police spokeswoman. He "indicated there was a problem at his house," without providing police with more details, Chinn said.

A police sergeant who knew Dean found him waiting outside the house, Chinn said. Police then searched the house and found Dean's stepchildren, 13-year-old Connor Kirk and 14-year-old Brittany Kirk, shot in their bedrooms. Elizabeth Dean, 45, was found shot in a different part of the house, police said.

Officials said it appeared that Connor was shot in his bed while sleeping and that the gunfire might have woken Brittany. Carrillo Dean's mother, Hilda, was present in the home but was not harmed.

Connor and his mother were dead at the scene, and Brittany was flown to a hospital, where she died about 3:20 a.m., police said. Dean was arrested before Brittany died and was charged with murder in the killings of his wife and stepson. He will now face a third murder charge, police said.

Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said his office would seek a capital murder charge, allowed under state law in multiple killings.

"There is no doubt we will charge him with capital murder. The question is whether we will seek the death penalty," Ebert said. "The puzzle is why he would kill innocent people, including two children. To drag children into that whole situation just doesn't make sense."

Police recovered a handgun that they believe was used in all three slayings. They declined to comment on whether Dean confessed to the slayings but said he has been "cooperative."

A preliminary investigation did not turn up any prior violent incidents at the house or any records of domestic abuse or restraining orders, Chinn said.

Whatever was troubling Dean, it eluded friends and neighbors on his quiet, wooded cul-de-sac. The man they knew as "C.D." was "an all-around nice guy" and a devoted caretaker of his wife, Elizabeth, who had a bone ailment and could not eat wheat products, said a neighbor, Sean Peterson.

"He'd make her dinner every night . . . special dinners that don't have wheat," said Peterson, 29. "When she had to go somewhere, he'd walk her out to her car so she wouldn't fall. . . . He must have snapped."

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