Solution To 2001 Seattle Prosecutor’s Killing Seems Unlikely


The New Yorker explores the unsolved 2001 killing of Tom Wales, an assistant U.S. Attorney in Seattle. The magazine details disagreements within the Justice Department over whether sufficient resources have been devoted to the investigation. Wales, 49, had been a federal prosecutor for 18 years when he was gunned down in his home. Although there was early speculation that his death was tied to his well-known support of gun-control measures, the long-running investigation has focused on a man Wales investigated in a helicopter-refurbishing deal that never produced a criminal charge. The suspect was forced to provide handwriting samples as recently as last December.

With the passage of time, a prosecution becomes more difficult, says the magazine. At least two potential witnesses have died, and solving a murder case more than six years after the crime occurred is rare. Said one law-enforcement official: “If you investigate somebody for five years and you haven't closed the deal, you have to draw inferences from that, too.”


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