Woman charged in the Buckley murder of man

Details were pieced together late last week surrounding a tragic turn of events that resulted in the shooting death of Buckley resident Robert Irby.

In the end, Tammie Beth Pinkney, 41 – identified as Irby’s live-in girlfriend – was charged with murder. She pleaded not guilty Thursday in Pierce Councy Superior Court and remains behind bars in the Pierce County jail, held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Authorities were first alerted to the incident at 3:40 p.m. May 14 when Pinkney dialed 911 and reported the 61-year-old Irby was not breathing. According to charging documents, emergency crews responded to the couple’s rural Buckley home and found Irby on a toilet, reportedly unconscious and surrounded by blood.

The home is in the 12100 block of 275th Avenue East.

Charging papers indicate police received contradictory statements from Pinkney. Stories ranged from Irby committing suicide to the involvement of an unknown stranger who participated in Irby’s shooting.

The one certainty is that Irby died due to gunshot wounds. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office reported he had been shot once in the chest and three times in the head.

Eventually, Pinkney admitted that she alone was responsible for Irby’s death and that the shooting occurred May 13, court documents say.

According to a police account of the incident, Pinkney had been away from home, using crack cocaine. When she arrived at home, Irby began yelling at her, prompting her decision to kill her boyfriend. She reportedly got a handgun from her truck and waited for Irby to use the bathroom before shooting him.

It was reported that Pinkney then traveled to Tacoma and spent the night using more crack cocaine. She returned home the next day and called 911. Pinkney also is being charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. She is prohibited from owning a gun due to a previous felony conviction.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.