A failed polygraph test by a gun collector, handwriting samples from a suspect, and a daughter's plea for the public's help have breathed life into the stalled five-year investigation of a Seattle federal prosecutor, reports the New York Times. Thomas Wales, 49, was shot to death in 2001, at his computer in his basement. The crime appears to have been premeditated because of its precision and the paltry evidence left behind. If Wales was murdered in retaliation for his work, he would be the first federal prosecutor killed in the line of duty.
The FBI has offered a $1 million reward for information leading to a conviction, has interviewed about 4,000 people, and followed 10,000 leads in 50 states and several Eastern European countries. Tests identified the weapon as an inexpensive semiautomatic Makarov handgun. The gun had been refitted with an American-made stainless-steel replacement barrel, one of 3,600 sold in the United States. Since then, the F.B.I. has focused on its “Makarov project” and found 1,800 of them. One gun collector with at least one of the barrels, Albert Kwan of a Seattle suburb, failed a polygraph test in connection with the case.