Jurors won’t hear alleged confession in Md. teacher’s death

WASHINGTON — Jurors in the upcoming trial of the man charged with killing his pregnant girlfriend won’t be able to hear about his alleged confession — at least not in his own words.

Tyler Tessier is accused of killing Laura Wallen, a Howard County teacher who disappeared on Sept. 4, 2017. Her body was found more than a week later in a shallow grave in a Damascus, Maryland, field, near a house where Tessier was staying.

Montgomery County prosecutors and Tessier’s lawyers told the judge at a hearing Friday they’d reached an agreement: Prosecutors won’t play the actual videotape or quote from one interview in which Tessier told detectives he buried Wallen when she collapsed after running into a wooden pole and shot her once in the head because he was afraid he’d buried her alive.

If Tessier takes the stand and contradicts what he said in the interview, prosecutors can use the tape.

It’s unclear how prosecutors could use other witnesses or evidence to tell jurors about those admissions.

Prosecutors said in March of this year that Tessier first told detectives that Wallen was killed by a group of black men who kidnapped the both of them at Wallen’s home and forced them to drive in his vehicle to Damascus.

But Tessier recanted, prosecutors said, and later told the detectives that he and Wallen had been fighting, that she had tried to attack him with scissors, and when he dodged her, she ran into a post on the porch of the house and collapsed.

Instead of calling for help, Tessier told detectives, he buried Wallen in the field on Price Distillery Road, at one point shooting her in the head because he thought she might have been alive and didn’t want her to suffer, prosecutors said.

Tessier’s trial is set to begin in September. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.

WTOP’s Rick Massimo contributed to this report.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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