Police Arrest Tacoma Couple Accused of Murdering 65-year-old Mother And Stuffing Her Inside a Crawl Space

The happy couple.
After investigators acting on a search warrant forced their way into Tacoma home of Laurinda Mae Hughes late last month, they found a trail of blood, a wallet and a set of false teeth in the glass near her dresser. But no Hughes.

Continued search turned up the entrance to a crawl space, where according to court documents, they found the sixty-five-year-old's body wrapped in a bloody sheet along with spent bullet casing. The next day a Pierce County judge issued warrants for the arrest of Hughes' son, Thomas Bienville and his wife Austa.

According to charging papers, the Bienvilles had been living with Hughes at the time of her murder and were reported as missing right up until yesterday when Miami police acting on a tip caught up with them at a Greyhound bus station.

Both have now been charged with first degree murder. But for Thomas Bienville, a two-time felon with a long and distinguished rap sheet, that could mean at the very least life without the possibility of parole.

A search of Bienville's criminal record shows that in 1993, he was convicted of rape in the second degree. He's since been required to register as a Level II sex-offender. Four years later, he was arrested again on charges of rape. A Seattle Times, report revealed that at the time of his arrest, Bienville was on a "conditional release" from prison due to overcrowding. But its unclear whether any charges were ever filed in that case.

Bienville already has "two-strikes" or two major felony's on his record, writes assigned Pierce County prosecutor Philip Sorensen. So, if convicted, Bienville could be facing the business end of the state's three-strike law. The Bienvilles remain in Miami awaiting transport back to Washington.

comments powered by Disqus